PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A classic 1975 GP Transit bus parked outside Kroger on Lake St. in Peoria on Friday was crammed with food donations on the 9th Annual Day of Stuffing.

The Day of Stuffing is an effort to boost donations for the ongoing 35th Annual Stuff-A-Bus Food Drive benefitting the Peoria Friendship House. This year’s goal is to collect 11 tons of food.

“It’s very important because of the economy and the times that we are living in. They are difficult… The pantries are low and people are hungry. There are people that are hungry that you don’t even know are hungry, because they’re not going to tell you because of the pride,” said food donor Marjorie Kay Douglas.

Douglas said hunger is a big issue in the community that doesn’t end after the holiday season.

“I know the plight and the hardship. I’ve endured hardship in my own life, so I know what it’s like. So I have no problem making sure someone else is happy and that they can eat. Not only on Thanksgiving Day but throughout the year… We have a problem that doesn’t just exist one day a week. It exists seven days a week, and there are people going to bed hungry because they have no food and no other resources to turn to,” she said.

Peoria Mustangs players handed out flyers and encouraged shoppers to donate on their way out.

“I think it’s great that we are giving back because the community of Peoria is always there to support us. So if we can do anything to help back, it’s amazing,” said Peoria Mustangs center Massimo Polistina.

The bus will be back in front Kroger on Saturday morning with the Peoria Police Department on hand to facilitate donations.

Donations are accepted at all Kroger locations in Peoria and East Peoria through Nov. 30. The final weight of the food collected will be revealed at a press conference at 10 a.m. on Nov. 30 at the Friendship House.