"One of our STA drivers from the Lakewood, N.J., terminal lost his home, his car and nearly everything in the storm," said Kris Dail of STA's Epsom, N.H., terminal. "He and his family are living in a shelter and need everything from toothpaste to textbooks. We have a family culture here at Student Transportation — we help each other — and we have found that the people in our school communities want to help as well."
STA staff members in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and other states have led "Stuff-a-Bus" relief efforts to gather items for colleagues and others in the New York City and New Jersey shore communities devastated by the late-October superstorm.
Dail said that the outpouring of support from the school districts STA serves in these states has far exceeded expectations.
"We thought we'd fill one large bus and drive it down from New Hampshire to help other drivers in need," Dail said. "We ended up with four 72-passenger buses completely filled with supplies. I'm in awe of how this has grown."
From one state to another, STA employees have taken personal time to load school buses and drive them to hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey with donated cases of bleach, cleaning supplies, packages of baby diapers, boxes of garbage bags, toiletries, bedding, non-perishable food items, new clothes and shoes, school supplies, and even pet food.
At STA's Lakewood terminal, Manager Denise Cramer said her team was thrilled to accept the items to distribute to coworkers and others impacted by the storm.
"It brings us closer," Cramer said. "Everyone's looking out for each other and asking how they can help. To have people we didn't even know jump in and do so much to help is extremely moving. STA is like a real family; when tragedy strikes, we're there to help no matter what. That's the atmosphere in this company, and it's an awesome feeling."
Debby Murphy, branch manager of STA's Ocean State Transit terminal in East Greenwich, R.I., said that when their three buses arrived in Brooklyn, N.Y., filled to the windows with donated supplies, Salvation Army staff members were overwhelmed with appreciation.
"They were impressed with the volume of items that everyone donated," Murphy said. "They kept saying how they couldn't believe all the stuff on the buses and how great it was to get things they really needed. As we unloaded, Salvation Army staff told us stories about how the storm changed their lives and how they couldn't have made it if it weren't for generosity of others."
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