"Stuff the Bus" to help Dubuque food bank - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"Stuff the Bus" to help Dubuque food bank

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The holidays can be a difficult time for charities to collect donations but a local food bank that distributes to pantries and non-profit organizations throughout eastern Iowa is doing what it can to help its inventory.

St. Stephen's Food Bank in Dubuque held a "Stuff the Bus" event on Sunday and Monday. Sunday, volunteers braved the cold and snowy weather to collect non-perishable items outside of Wal-Mart in Dubuque. Those items were then placed in the cargo area of a bus. The cold winter months and holiday season can be a time when donations at local food pantries and non-profit organizations typically dwindle.

"In the wintertime, we have a decrease in some of the fresh produce," Jeff Streinz, a board member of St. Stephen's Food Bank said Sunday. "We have a decrease in the things that the farmers give, and the things that are raised. Many people have huge gardens and they donate in the summer months. Well, this time of year we obviously don't have that in the Midwest."

Curtis Ettema and his family were shopping at Wal-Mart in Dubuque Sunday. Ettema says he and his family just moved to the area, and he always looks for ways to teach his children about donating. Ettema and both of his children all donated to St. Stephen's Food Bank Sunday.

"Some families are just not as fortunate as others, and I think it's really important to teach young children to give as much as possible to families in need." Ettema said.

It's those donations that officials with the St. Stephen's Food Bank say make a huge difference.

"If everybody coming in Sunday could pick up on item. If it is a can of beans or a can of soup, any item will make a huge difference." Jeff Streinz said.

Kathy Hutton is the warehouse director at St. Stephen's Food Bank. She said this year, donations mean even more.

"The food stamp program has been cut so people are not getting as much money," Hutton said Sunday. "So they are filtering into the pantries and the meal sites."

Last year the "Stuff the Bus" event hosted by St. Stephen's Food Bank collected almost 3,000 pounds of food and almost $1,000 in donations.

Officials say they hope to beat that amount this year.

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