Bradford County, Pa. -- An entire school bus filled with food donations honored the memory of an Athens teenager, Jaymz Altieri. Donations came in from all over Bradford County to fill the bus for Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP).
Feed the Bus for CHOP, a food drive held in memory of Altieri, was held throughout the month of September. Volunteer and event organizer Bill Snyder staffed the bus every day. Liz Terwilliger, local Congressional candidate, coordinated the delivery and collection of donation boxes with businesses, churches and schools across the county.
“Bill approached me back in August with the idea to fill a school bus with non-perishable food as a way to thank CHOP for everything they’ve done for the community throughout the pandemic,” explained Liz. “I thought it was a great idea but was skeptical about the goal of filling a whole school bus. We did it! It’s amazing! The community really came together, and we did it! We filled an entire bus!”
On Saturday, Oct. 9, the bus rolled into Towanda escorted by 17 motorcycles and 2 cars. Volunteers were on hand to unload, and an hour later the bus was empty and food donations filled nearly nine pallets. In addition to the food, Bethany Altieri (Jaymz’s Mom) handed more that $2,000 in monetary donations to Dani Ruhf, Executive Director/Founder of CHOP.
“It brought tears to our eyes,” Bethany said, “that Jaymz was not present to see all of the food and monetary donations, and our hearts rejoiced with what our eyes witnessed. We were heartbroken on Jaymz’s birthday (9/23) and we celebrated his life. We were overwhelmed by so much anxiety and excited by the outpouring of good will. The best word to describe the month of September is bittersweet.”
Event organizers plan to make this an annual drive. “We’ve set up an account in Jaymz’ name, here at CHOP,” said Dani, “any donations that come to us in memory of Jaymz will be counted in that account.”
If you’d like to get involved in next year’s drive or other voluntary activities around Bradford County contact Liz at Liz@lizterwilligerforcongress.org or through her Facebook page.