Dayton bus drivers collecting food, toys |

Dayton bus drivers collecting food, toys

Teri Vance

Instead of filling seats with children, Dayton school bus drivers will be collecting food and toys Saturday for the Fill A Bus holiday drive.

“Over half our bus drivers are helping out as well as our crossing guard out here,” said driver Debra Shenal. “We’ve had a lot of response.”

Shenal is organizing the drive based on a similar one done in Fernley.

“They’ve had such great success, we thought we would try our own,” she said.

As the first ones to see the children after they leave home in the mornings and the last to bid them farewell before joining their parents, bus drivers have a unique connection with the students, Shenal said.

“We do get to know these kids,” she said. “They talk to us.”

She said the drivers have sympathy for the children who struggle and are happy for the opportunity to help.

Shenal has been driving the school bus for 10 years and said others have spent 15 years or more on the same route.

“We watch these kids from kindergarten to graduation,” she said. “We’re around them a lot. We see upfront and personal the needs in our community for children and their families.”

Toys collected will go the Community Chest to be distributed to local children in need.

The food will go to the Dayton Food Bank, which serves local families.

“We’re hoping to get enough food for all the holiday dinners,” Shenal said.

The bus will be in front of Smith’s Food and Drug in Dayton 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Shenal said she hopes the event is successful and will grow into an annual drive.

“Drop on by and give a can,” she said. “One can can make a difference.”