Locals can turn their weekend grocery trip into a giveaway Saturday, Dec. 10, by joining in the fourth annual "Stuff the Bus" food drive.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, buses will be parked at 14 Vons grocery stores around the county, waiting to be filled with food for local families hit hard by the economy.
The campaign is a partnership between Vons, the Metropolitan Transit System, North County Transit District and the San Diego Food Bank. Last year, people donated more than 10,000 pounds of nonperishable food.
Officials hope to do even better this year.
"The number of people who need assistance continues to rise, and they could be our friends, family and neighbors," NCTD Board Chairman Chris Orlando said. "This is why NCTD is taking part for the first time this year. We're hoping everyone can take time this weekend and come out to a neighborhood Vons to help us help them."
Santee residents won't have to go far to help. The , will host buses from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Vons is making it easy for weekend shoppers to get their own groceries and some to give away.
"Our stores are geared to help Stuff the Buses,"said John Piva, the vice president of retail operations for Vons and a San Diego Food Bank board member. "Pre-packaged bags of the most needed types of food items like canned meat and tuna, peanut butter, canned beans, pasta, dry cereal, canned soups, canned fruits and vegetables are available at the front of each store."
People are asked to donate nonperishable food in paper or canned packaging. Perishable items and items in glass jars can't be accepted due to food safety regulations.
Those who want to help financially can donate $5 to the food bank by texting "SDFBUS" to 20222, which equals 15 meals.
Donated food will be distributed to the food bank's 350 nonprofit distribution partners, such as the Armed Services YMCA.
Also, remember the takes donation year round and distributes the food locally.