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Stuffing the Bus for Britepaths’ Food Pantry
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Stuffing the Bus for Britepaths’ Food Pantry

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Front row, from left, are Mahesh Madineni with Volunteer Fairfax; volunteer Christina Zaso; Amy Yates, Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services; Walmart Store Manager Shabnam Ighani; Britepaths Programs Director Christina Garris; and students Michael Park and Christine Rolfe. Back row, from left, are Fair Oaks District Station police: Sgt Jason Trunzo, MPO Wayne Twombly and Officer Sladzana Resnik; and Auxiliary Police Officers Ruta Bailey and Beth Myers.

The community lent a much-needed hand, last Saturday, June 29, during the Stuff the Bus food drive for nonprofit Britepaths at the Walmart in Fairfax City. Britepaths Programs Director Christina Garris couldn’t have been happier.

“The local food banks struggle in the summer because people are away on vacation, so donations are down,” she explained. “And since school’s out, children receiving free and reduced-priced lunches can’t get them. So for both these reasons, our food pantries become depleted.”

And when money is tight – as it is for the families Britepaths serves – people often have to choose between buying food or paying their rent. That’s why, said Garris, “Britepaths is ecstatic to be able to replenish our pantry, courtesy of Stuff the Bus and the local community. And we also want to thank Walmart for its participation and support in hosting this food drive for us.”

The event was a collaboration among Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services, Office of Public-Private Partnerships and MV Transportation. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m., volunteers at the Fairfax Walmart greeted customers and passed out fliers asking for donations of food or money so Britepaths could continue assisting local families in need.

What was collected was then stuffed into a Fastran bus and brought to the organization’s pantry. And at the end of the day, the donations totaled $1,577 in cash and gift cards, plus a whopping 907.6 pounds of food.

“The food, alone, would be valued at $1,561,” said a delighted Garris. “That gives us a total of $3,138 – which is a record for Britepaths with Stuff the Bus. We really appreciate everyone’s help and generosity.”