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Exeter Rotary- Stuff the Bus April 1

Exeter Rotary Club Reinvigorates Stuff the Bus Food Drive
to benefit Society of St Vincent de Paul Exeter Food Pantry 

Exeter, NH –The Exeter Rotary Club is excited to announce its 9th Annual “Stuff the Bus” Food Drive to benefit the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter Food Pantry & Cleo Castonguay Community Assistance Center on Saturday April 1st, 2023 from 9am-2pm. 

“This is an important event for our community, and we are thrilled to once again have the opportunity to partner with St. Vincent de Paul to make an impact on hunger and food insecurity in our community,” said Exeter Rotary Club President Marilyn Kellogg. 

“There are many people in our community who struggle with food insecurity, which refers to the lack of financial means to consistently provide quality food to sustain a healthy lifestyle,” said Rachael Ela, Exeter Rotary Club Stuff the Bus Coordinator.  “Stuff the Bus is an important initiative that can really make a difference for our friends and neighbors.” 

“This year’s Stuff the Bus could not occur at a more critical time. With the significantly reduced SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)  benefits, approximately $200 per household, we are seeing a considerable increase in the number of families that come to our pantry seeking foods and supplies,” said Molly Zirillo, Executive Director at St. Vincent de Paul.  “Our food pantry inventory has felt the effect due to the heavy demand on our items. We are so grateful to the Exeter Rotary for organizing the annual Stuff the Bus food drive at Exeter Hannaford, Shaw’s and Market Basket.  We are fortunate to live in such a benevolent community that donates healthy foods, financial gifts and their time volunteering. We could not continue to distribute critical foods without supporters like the Exeter Rotary.”

The Southern District YMCA Camp Lincoln and First Student Bus Company of Salem, NH have donated two mini buses and a full-size school bus that will be placed in front of three area grocery stores for the day. Customers of Market Basket and Shaw’s of Stratham and Hannaford of Exeter are asked to help fill the buses with whole wheat cereal, peanut butter, 100% juice, healthy granola bars, low sodium tomato soup, laundry detergent and personal care items. Volunteers have also assembled pre-packed bags of donations requested by the pantry to make donating extra easy for their customers. As in previous years, this year’s event will continue to have a “green” side. Because the pantry was forward thinking and has transitioned away to more earth friendly bags for clients accessing food assistance, each grocery store has either packed donations in paper bags or has generously donated reusable cloth bags which will be utilized by the pantry’s clients after the event.

Prior Stuff the Bus drives have raised the equivalent of approximately $110,000 in food donations and the Club is confident the community will step up again to make a real impact on the lives of its most vulnerable neighbors. 

"The Stuff the Bus event is essential to help those whose financial status is stretched that it barely covers basic needs.  This includes families whose children are on the Breakfast/Lunch Program at school,” added Leah Grant, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter board member.  “When school is out, the family is now feeding all their children every day three meals a day instead of one.  This has a huge impact on their budget, especially with food prices.”

The Exeter Rotary Club has been a non-profit member of our Exeter Area Community since 1959. Rotary is one of the largest international humanitarian service organizations in the world, with more than 1.2 million Rotary members worldwide. Rotary joins leaders from all continents, cultures and occupations. Rotarians exchange ideas, bringing their expertise and diverse perspectives to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems, like the eradication of polio. Rotarians take action to bring lasting change in their communities around the world.  The Exeter Rotary Club conducts many community projects and supports local non-profits who’s work benefits those that live and work in the Exeter area. The Exeter Rotary Club meets each Monday at the Exeter Inn. We are looking for established professionals wanting to make positive changes in the Exeter community and around the world. Meetings are the first and third Tuesdays of the month and are open to the public. If you are interested in attending, please contact Exeter Rotary Club President, Marilyn Kellogg EXETERNHROTARY@GMAIL.COM 

For more information about The Exeter Rotary “Stuff the Bus” Food Drive, visit their Facebook page or