Stuffing the bus: Annual Boys & Girls Club fundraiser helps serve those in need

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Since 2009, the Tom & Soni Sheehan Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville has held a fundraiser to purchase nonperishable goods, warm clothing and other items for the Noblesville Township Trustee office.

Conducted by Boys & Girls Club members, the fundraiser provides items to the trustee’s office for those in need.

The fundraiser, christened Stuff Da Bus, was created by Boys & Girls Club members. Two of the Boys & Girls Club’s organizations, the Torch Club for children aged 9 to 12, and the Keystone Club, for teens 13 and older, organize the fundraiser.

Members solicit donations from people and organizations throughout the community. Those who donate $250 or more will be featured in the Dec. 5 Holiday in Lights Parade. Donors can also purchase items themselves to give to the Noblesville Township Trustee office if the items total at least $250.

Maggie Hood, teen director at the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville, said most of the people and organizations they contact regularly donate to Stuff Da Bus.

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Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville Teen Director Maggie Hood and left, Zander Gruber, Maddie Richardson, Emma Hoffman, NiAsia Cunningham, Ellie Casteel with items for Stuff Da Bus. (Photo courtesy of Tom & Soni Sheehan Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville)

“(Members who call donors) help share the passion and the need for what we’re doing, and then they get to also hear people in the community accept this offer of sponsorship,” Hood said. “So, they’re seeing good role models and they’re seeing people who are giving as well.”

With the donated funds, Boys & Girls Club members purchase items such as nonperishable food, winter clothes, miscellaneous home goods, etc for the Stuff Da Bus initiative.

“My favorite part about Stuff Da Bus is probably going shopping and then delivering it,” said 12-year-old Emma Hoffman, who attends Noblesville West Middle School and is president of the Torch Club. “We were there for like seven hours last year just piling things into carts and spending all the money we got and then just giving it away.”

Noblesville West Middle School student Maddie Richardson, 12, is vice president of the Torch Club. She embraces the opportunity to help the community through Stuff Da Bus.

“I’ve always wanted to help out with the community and give back to the community, and it’s really fun to be a part of that,” Richardson said.

Hood said club members learn about budgeting and how to “stretch the value of money so we can make $1 go further.”

“I would say that they’re learning philanthropy, they’re learning how to be a giver and someone who can contribute to their society, to their community,” Hood said. “They’re able to see how (they’re helping) somebody else and hopefully they also see how much help they’re getting here at the club, from those same people.”

Noblesville Township Trustee Theresa Caldwell said her office served 1,363 households at the food pantry last year. From January through October this year, the office served 1,214 households.

“It’s a big event for us because we start running low this time of year,” Caldwell said. “So really what they do supplies us and will probably get us through the first half of the year.”

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The bus for the Stuff Da Bus fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of the Tom & Soni Sheehan Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville)

THE NOBLESVILLE TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE

The Noblesville Township Trustee office provides assistance, including for rent and utilities among other services, for those in need. It also operates a food pantry on Tuesdays.

Trustee Theresa Caldwell said a misconception is that no one in Hamilton County needs assistance. She said people of different walks of life seek assistance from the office, not just lower-income individuals.

From January to September of this year, the Noblesville Township Trustee office helped 404 families or households with rental assistance and 141 households or families with utility assistance.


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