DANSVILLE—The Dansville Central School transportation department wanted to bring a little holiday cheer to the bus garage this season but wound up bringing it to less fortunate families and students in the district.
The crew at the garage thought it might be fun to decorate a school bus in Christmas lights and park it outside of the garage for the holiday season. So that’s just what they did.
“The mechanics talked about decorating a bus, so little by little everyone started bringing in lights and decorating,” said transportation director Mike Mistretta. “They decorated on their breaks, during lunch some even after work.”
From there, the crew decided they should use the bus as incentive for people to donate to C.A.N.N. in Dansville. They got to work making flyers and sharing their idea on social media sites to get the word out and soon, their Fill the Bus campaign took off and they started collecting everything from food to coats and toys.
“No one knows how many people are in need around here more than bus drivers,” said Mistretta. “When I first started driving, it messed with my head the things I saw. It’s an eye opener how many people right here need help”
The donations began coming in, to the garage, to the main offices in the schools and what students brought on their buses. Friday morning, the bus will be driven to C.A.N.N. to deliver all they’ve collected over the past few weeks.
The bus will leave the garage at 9:oo a.m. on Friday morning to donate all they’ve collected, so donations can be dropped off anytime before then, either at the garage or in one of the school’s main offices.
Mistretta explained this is the first year they’ve done this but they’re already working to make it bigger next year. He hopes it will gain more attention next year with a little more planning.
“We didn’t really start this until a little after Thanksgiving,” he said. “Next year we’re going to start it right after so we can collect more.”
Despite having only started a few weeks ago, Mistretta is happy with the outcome and the work that went into the bus.
“Everyone has really gotten on board with this,” he said. “I’m very proud of my people.”