Log In

Reset Password

Stuff the Bus program sets new heights in community giving

The third annual ‘stuff the bus’ campaign was a huge success as Bethlehem Area School District transportation department employees partnered with the United States Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots and New Bethany to collect toys, nonperishable food, personal hygiene supplies and other necessities for area families and clientele. They also accepted cash donations which were used to purchase many of these items as well. Despite losing collection days due to unusually heavy rain in December, stuff the bus coordinator Brenda Sciascia, a BASD bus driver, said she was “pleasantly surprised at the generosity of residents, many who returned from prior years.”

Collection points at SteelStacks near ArtsQuest’s Christkindlmarkt on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and at the Bethlehem Square shopping center near Walmart on Saturdays and Sundays were staffed by BASD transportation employees, USMC reservists, BASD students earning their community service time, and even featured a short visit by Santa Claus. “Our team of BASD ‘elves’ never let me down,” said Sciascia, “and the Marines led by Staff Sergeant Christopher Olson were wonderful to work with.” She added that she was humbled by her co-workers’ and the students’ enthusiasm and grateful for their participation.

On Dec. 20, transportation employees delivered a bus filled with toys to the Toys for Tots warehouse located near Northampton. Toys collected after that were taken by the Marine Corps Reserves to meet any last minute needs or to be stored for use in the 2024 Toys for Tots drive.

The following day, BASD transportation staff delivered items collected and purchased to New Bethany. Some items went to families sponsored by the BASD and New Bethany, while other supplies were provided for agency clientele. “This is a wonderful gift,” said New Bethany executive director Marc Rittle. “The need is greater this year and donations like this are critical to support the families we serve.” He also noted “the wonderful relationship with BASD throughout the pandemic” and said he was “happy to see it go forward.”

“We are proud and privileged to provide Toys for Tots and New Bethany with what they need,” said Sciascia, who noted it was all made possible through the community’s support of ‘stuff the bus’ and the support of BASD transportation general manager Jenny Robinson.

Bus drivers Julia Rosario and Mia Kontir are joined by USMC Lance Corporal Pena while accepting donations at SteelStacks near Christkindlmarkt.
A bus filled with toys is ready to be unloaded at the Toys for Tots warehouse.
BASD bus driver Lisa Sommers totes a box of toys into the Toys for Tots warehouse.
BASD transportation employees Daniella Phillips, Lisa Sommers and Kevin McNamara, USMC reservists Staff Sergeant Christopher Olson and Lance Corporal Eric Carabello, and Santa look alike volunteer Wayne Langsdorf unloaded the stuffed bus at the warehouse.
New Bethany development coordinator Jenna Sentz, BASD driver Lisa Sommers, director of bus maintenance, Mike Byrnes, NB food access director Brandy Garafalo, BASD driver and Stuff the Bus coordinator Brenda Sciascia, NB executive director Marc Rittle and Tim Burke, NB development director, facilitated, delivery of supplies to New Bethany for sponsored families and general clients.
Mike Byrnes, BASD transportation director of bus maintenance, unloads supplies to a volunteer at New Bethany.
BASD driver Curtis Inniss places donated toys into a Toys for Tots collection box.
PRESS PHOTOS BY DANA GRUBB BASD employees Curtis Inness, Mia Kontir, Kevin McNamara and Brenda Sciascia, USMC reservists Staff Sergeant Dave Schauer and Corporal David Zdziarski, and Inniss's daughter Aneesa collected toys and donations right up until Christmas Eve.
Corporal David Zdziarski accepts a donation from a passing motorist at the Bethlehem Square shopping center.