The Stuff the Bus for Livingston’s C.H.O.W. (Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse) is back!

The Stuff the Bus will be making its way through town on Tuesday, August 7th.  After a few key stops, the bus will park at the Oval for Livingston’s National Night Out Festivities and attendees are encouraged to bring a healthy food donation for the bus.

The non-perishable items requested for collection are: canned tuna, peanut butter, napkins, toilet tissue, paper towels, breakfast cereal, condiments, canned beans, dried beans, pasta, white or brown rice, pasta sauces, macaroni & cheese, powdered milk, canned fruit, canned vegetables, baby food and jelly & jam. Only new, unopened items will be collected.  Please make sure items are not expired and healthy items are appreciated.

All food will be donated to C.H.O.W., a project of the Livingston Clergy Association, which will distribute collected items to families in need. Housed at St. Philomena’s, C.H.O.W. is open to families in need on a drop-in basis.  Excess food collected is donated to soup kitchens and food pantries in the surrounding areas. For additional information on C.H.O.W, contact Sister Barbara at (973) 992-1382.

Pre-event stops, including Shoprite and Kings (where people can meet the bus and get their donations on the bus)

The Stuff the Bus bus, generously provided by the Livingston Public Schools,will drive through town and make many pre-event stops. 

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Stonybrook Day Camp at Heritage Middle School- A Stonybrook Day Camp bus, packed with food donations (campers have been challenged to a stuff the camp bus) will meet the Stuff the Bus bus and transfer their food donations to kick off the day's festivities.

Livingston Senior and Community Center on Hillside- Here the Stuff the Bus will accept donations from the township’s Livingston Kids’ Camp, which has promoted this event and has been collected canned goods throughout the summer.

The bus will then head over to Livingston’s Shoprite, where it will be parked from 3:15-3:45pm. Members of the community are welcomed and encouraged to come bring donations to the bus, while it is parked at Shoprite.

Next, the bus will head over the West Essex YMCA. The West Essex YMCA's summer camps, which are committed to social responsibility, are running a collection from Wednesday, Aug 1 - Monday, Aug 6th at Camp Peanut Shell, Super Summer Day Camp, Pioneer Trails Day Camp and Teen Adventure Camp.

The bus will then pull into Livingston’s Kings, where it will be parked from 4:15-4:50pm. Members of the community are welcomed and encouraged to come bring donations to the bus while it is parked at Kings.  In addition, Kings will have pre-bagged items available for sale in the store. The bags are actually available now at all registers for your convenience, Kings will hold your donation and load it onto the bus for you.  Please consider purchasing a pre-bagged bag if you are shopping at Kings this week through next Tuesday.

The Stuff the Bus bus will be at National Night Out
After Kings, the Stuff the Bus will head over to the Oval where it will stay for the evening for National Night Out.  Attendees are encouraged to bring an item or bag of items to stuff onto the bus. 

Event is part of our community's second annual town wide community service project
Coordinated by Deputy Major Rudy Fernandez, the focus of this year's efforts will be C.H.O.W. and multiple collections planned throughout the year.  

Town organizations are assisting with this Stuff the Bus and they will also kick off the townwide project by placing drop boxes for donations for C.H.O.W. around town and even in surrounding areas. The organizations who, have agreed to participate in the town wide effort include: The Livingston Kiwanis Club; The West Essex YMCA;Livingston UNICO; Rotary Club of Livingston; Livingston Knights of Columbus, Council 3533; Livingston Masonic Lodge #11; the Livingston American Little League; Healthy Community, Healthy Youth; and the West Essex Tribune.  And special thanks to Kings and Shoprite for their support of these efforts.

Part of Livingston's Food Day 2012 activities

The timing for the community wide focus on Livingston’s C.H.O.W. is perfect.  First, C.H.O.W.’s demand continues to grow.  C.H.O.W. has worked hard to determine appropriate distribution methods for food collections and after doing so, it has capacity to accept more donations to meet growing demand.  In addition, the focus on C.H.O.W. ties into an already planned community effort, Livingston’s first ever Food Day, which had been in organizing stages when the decision to work with C.H.O.W. was made.

Food Day is a national initiative, sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, working to bring people together to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable and humane way. Last year, for the first time, over 2,500 events were held in every state of the nation in homes, schools, congregations, farmers markets, restaurants, libraries, supermarkets and businesses.  Food Day is held on October 24th, but efforts related to the day can be held anytime throughout the year.  With leadership from the United Way’s Pantry Partners, Food Day 2011 was introduced and organized in Montclair, NJ.   The day’s efforts were very well received and the idea was to expand into additional communities.  In 2012, Livingston has joined Food Day’s “eat real movement” to help do nothing short of transforming the American diet. 

Key partners in Livingston’s Food Day efforts include the West Essex YMCA, Livingston Township, Shoprite, Kings, Livingston Public Schools, Livingston Public Library, C.H.O.W, and other community groups.  

Members of Livingston’s Food Day committee have been meeting and working to plan multiple events under the umbrella Food Day 2012.  At a planning meeting, it was suggested that the town consider a Stuff the Bus initiative and in a matter of minutes, the idea grew from just a suggestion to something that could be a reality.  To learn more about Livingston’s Food Day efforts or to create your own Food Day event, Contact Eileen Sweeny at for more information. 

Thank you in advance for your support of the Stuff the Bus with Healthy Food for C.H.O.W..  And please remember that C.H.O.W., housed at St. Philomena’s, is open to local residents in need on a drop-in basis.  Again, those interested can contact Sister Barbara at (973) 992-1382.