703-222-9764 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
Michelle L. Thompson
Nonprofit Coordinator

Stuff the Bus

Stuff the Bus logo with tagline "Fight Hunger in Our Neighborhoods!"

Stuff the Bus began in 2011 in response to a critical need to help restock the shelves of local food pantries after the holidays. This collaborative program is a partnership between Fairfax County Government and local nonprofits. Now in its 12th year, Stuff the Bus continues to support food assistance efforts for families and households. Since inception, Stuff the Bus has collected more than 220 tons of food to feed people experiencing food insecurity in Fairfax County. 


The 2023 Winter Stuff the Bus campaign has concluded. There are no additional dates scheduled at this time. 


If you plan to donate to the Stuff the Bus food drive, please consider giving items from this list. Because the average size of a family seeking food assistance is four people, the sizes indicated are preferred to reduce food spoilage. Additionally, donating items that are high fiber, low sugar and low sodium not only feed people experiencing food insecurity but also contribute to their overall health and wellness. 

  • Cooking oil
  • Corn Flour Maseca 
  • Bag (dry) beans, peas or lentils (16 oz.)
  • Rice - brown or white (5 lbs. or smaller)
  • Canned fruit in light syrup or juice (20 oz. or smaller)
  • Healthy hot and cold cereal (42 oz. or smaller)
  • Healthy snacks (e.g. raisins, granola bars)
  • Canned tuna, salmon or chicken (15 oz. or smaller)
  • Canned tomatoes - low sodium, no salt added (29 oz. or smaller)
  • Soup - lower sodium (19 oz. or smaller)
  • Canned pasta (16 oz. or smaller)
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Peanut butter (40 oz. or smaller)
  • Fruit jam (32 oz. or smaller)
  • Instant potatoes (16 oz. or smaller)
  • Pancake mix (32 oz. or smaller) and syrup
  • Canned vegetables - low sodium, no salt added (29 oz. or smaller)
  • Canned beans or peas (29 oz. or smaller)

According to the Feeding America Impact of Coronavirus on Food Insecurity projections (published March 29, 2021), the food insecurity rate in Fairfax County is at 7.4% in 2021, up from 5.8% in 2019. That means that about 86,716 people in Fairfax are experiencing food insecurity.

The Capital Area Food Bank analyzed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our region in their Hunger Report 2021; they surveyed people using food bank services and found that:

  • Across the region, people who are newly food insecure (started going to free food distribution locations after March 2020) are more likely to have larger households and children and are more likely to be working compared to those who visited free food distribution locations before the pandemic. 
  • In Fairfax County, about 35% of people who visit free food distribution locations say that most or all of their food comes from such distributions. 
  • Food costs are on the rise, and about 37% of people who visited a free food distribution location said that their household spent $500 or more a month on food to prepare and eat at home.
  • The average amount of money spent per person on food per month is among the highest in the region at $110; only DC and Alexandria have higher average rates.

Food providers are working hard to make sure that their clients are getting food that fits their needs. In Fairfax County, about 90% of people visiting food distribution locations said that they received food that fits their nutritional and dietary needs most of the time, and about 85% say that they received food that fits with their culture’s cuisine most of the time.

Tips for Donating Safely at Stuff the Bus infographic 1. Park your car. 2. Do not approach the bus driver or the front entrance of the bus. 3. Take your donation items to the back door of the bus. 4. If someone else is already at the rear of the bus, wait until they have departed before approaching. 5. Place your donation items in the rear of the bus. 6. Leave the bus door open as you depart.

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