RUTLAND The Salvation Army is joining with the Community Food Cupboard and Bennington-Rutland Opportunity Council this year for Stuff-A-Bus, its annual Thanksgiving food drive during which buses parked at Hannaford and Price Chopper will be filled with non-perishables for Thanksgiving food baskets. As the temperature drops and the holidays draw near, local aid groups pitched in for the 13th annual Stuff A Bus event, which ran from Nov. 8 until Nov.10. Kicking off the annual event as always was WJJR's Nanci Gordon, Terry Jaye and his first year Salvation Army Capt. Charles Balcom.Balcom said, "I'm here to pick up where the other captains left off and here to serve the community." Many area schools get involved in this event with Northwest Elementary School and the veteran volunteer coordinator Mrs. Shappy collected 3,487 items. The children at Northwest collected for five days with second graders Rachael Noel and Kerah Bppk do the counting of the items each day. Winning classes with the most items collected were Mrs. Marro and Mrs. Webster, who will receive a pizza party. The children boarded the school bus full of food and delivered it to the awaiting bus at Price Chopper. As well as Northwest Rutland Intermediate School also collected food items for this event. RIS collected a total of 1,500 items led by the volunteer coordinator Karen McDonnell.The students there also took a trip aboard a bus filled with items to Price Chopper.The winning class was Mrs McCormick's fifth grade. Captain Balcom estimated the group would distribute more than 500 food baskets to families in need and divide the remaining food among the area's food shelves. The Vermont Foodbank is reporting empty shelves at some food pantries around the state and is urging Vermonters to donate food and money. The food bank is asking Vermonters to donate food directly to their local meal sites and food shelves because they are the first to respond to people seeking food. Nonperishable meat, fish and poultry, canned vegetables, canned soups and chili and peanut butter are in especially high demand.