Annual Fill up the Bus fundraiser returns this weekend photo

With a new school year fast approaching, Chatham-Kent charities need your help collecting food and school supplies for families needing a helping hand.

School buses will be located outside participating stores in Chatham, Tilbury, Wallaceburg, and Dresden for the single-day drive on August 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“This year we’re going to have nine different locations, so it will be a lot bigger and a lot better,” said Organizer Tim Haskell. “We will be collecting food and school supplies for our Chatham Outreach Food Bank and FreeHelpCK’s backpack program.”

The participating stores in Chatham include Sobeys, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Food Basics, and Giant Tiger. There will also be a big yellow bus parked at the No Frills in Wallaceburg, Foodland in Dresden, as well as at the Foodland and No Frills in Tilbury.

“It’s important we get the kids the tools they need for school and get the year off to a good start,” said Haskell.

This year, the goal is to get 500 backpacks to students across the region. Some of the suggested donations are juice boxes, healthy school snacks, canned fruit and vegetables, oatmeal, crackers, backpacks, and school supplies.

According to Haskell, numbers are up by 50 per cent this year, which means more people are in need of assistance.

“It’s important we try to help out our local foodbank during these challenging times,” said Haskell. “The people in our community always step up and help when we need it.”

All food collected will stay in each community.