"Making a difference:" Feeding America kicks-off 17th annual Stuff the Bus food drive

BROOKFIELD (WITI) -- Instead of people -- it was bags and bags of food filling a bus sitting outside the Brookfield Pick 'n Save on Wednesday, November 26th. It will be served up this Thanksgiving to families who need a helping hand.

"Regardless of people's situations, everybody needs help in one way or another and I'm just fortunate enough to give what I can give right now and I'm thankful for that," said Bill Dillon as he donated food.

Droves of donors showed up to help Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin kick off its 17th Annual "Stuff the Bus" food drive.

"We've already filled one bus before 9 o'clock (Wednesday) morning and that bus was packed -- so it was just heartwarming to see all of those donations come in this morning," said Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin Communications Manager Gina Styer.

The goal was to raise 250,000 pounds of food. Styer tells FOX6 News that goal was reached. Styer says 204,000 pounds of food were collected, and a generous donor came forward and paid for the $9,000 that would buy the additional 46,000 pounds to reach the goal.

People were asked to donate non-perishable food items and frozen turkeys, or buy pre-packaged bags with Thanksgiving sides for about $5. They could also donate money.

"One dollar provides five meals, so if you want to come down and really feel like you're making a difference this holiday season -- bring your cash or check donation," said Styer.

Nearly 400,000 Wisconsinites rely on food from Feeding America. 74% of those people have to choose between paying for their heat or paying for food.

But overwhelming generosity will prevent many from making that tough choice.

"It's a time of family. It's a time to give thanks and those people who don't really have anything I feel are the most grateful for just anything," said Dierra Reaves as she donated food.

Feeding America will be collecting food at the Pick 'n Save at 15170 W. Greenfield Avenue in Brookfield until 6:00 p.m. Wednesday night.

If you aren't able to make it -- you can CLICK HERE to donate.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, some at Miller Park were surprised to see Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun collecting food.

A drive-thru food drive was taking place at Miller Park all day Wednesday.

This is the second year that Braun has shown up to collect food for the Hunger Task Force.