Businesses 'Stuff the Bus' for Thanksgiving

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  • WSUS DJ Steve Andrews speaks on air with Director of Social Services Joan Bruseo.

  • The seats of the Sussex County Skylands Ride bus were filling up.

  • PHOTOS BY JANET REDYKEDonations were happily made at the Franklin Shop Rite for the Stuff the Bus food collection.

NEWTON — Thanksgiving is a much beloved American harvest holiday that recalls the colonists offering thanks for a bountiful harvest.

In our elementary school studies, we probably all remember the story of the 1621 Pilgrims at Plymouth, Massachusetts and how they celebrated their first successful harvest by inviting nearly 100 Pokanoket Native Americans including the chief, Massasoit. The feast lasted for three days. Most likely, the first Thanksgiving included different types of fowl, deer, fish and a plethora of veggies.

Over the years and citing the holiday’s history and developing changes, in 1789 President George Washington proclaimed the day devoted to public thanksgiving and prayer and even provided provisions for prisoners, setting the way for a Thanksgiving Day tradition of showing charity to others.

In American history, our forefathers have bounced around the actual day of Thanksgiving, shifting the date from the last Thursday in November to the third Thursday to the fourth Thursday. In 1941, finally President Franklin D. Roosevelt unified the country into observing the fourth Thursday in November as the legal holiday of Thanksgiving.

Traditions for the holiday have developed over the years. Parades were held, like the Gimbels’ Department store parade beginning in 1921 in Philadelphia. Macy’s followed by initiating their parade, complete with massive balloons, in 1938 on the streets of Manhattan. Football developed into a major Thanksgiving tradition with numerous high school and college teams playing their big games on the holiday. Mostly, Thanksgiving is known as a holiday of family, charity and thankfulness.

Local radio personalities from WSUS, WNNJ and Max along with the two Sussex County Ronetco Shop Rite stores, First Hope Bank and other local businesses spearheaded their 10th annual tradition of Stuff the Bus, a campaign against hunger in Sussex County. Non-perishable food, turkeys and monetary donations were collected on Nov. 17- 19 at various locations throughout the county. Sussex County Skylands Ride graciously provided the busses that were literally stuffed to capacity on the weekend endeavor for the benefit of the Sussex County Social Services Food Pantry.

“We collected about five tons of food yesterday (Nov. 17) at the First Hope bank location,” said Director of Social Services Joan Bruseo.

Bruseo also commented on the dedication of the two Shop Rite stores with employee donations as well as their yearlong Partners in Caring food program. WSUS radio personality Steve Andrews, who was at the Franklin store doing a live broadcast, praised the town of Franklin for being so generous.

“Last year, the Stuff the Bus program collected an amazing 23 tons of food. Maybe we’ll surpass that number this year,” Andrews seemed hopeful.

Anyone or any family in need of food, can visit the Division of Social Services at 83 Spring St. in Newton or can call 973-383- 3600.

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