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More opportunities for area residents to help with superstorm Sandy relief in Hadley and Amherst

The “Fill-a-Bus” campaign, which began Thursday outside the Student Union on the UMass campus, continues Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Super Stop & Shop on Route 9 in Hadley, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Whole Foods Market and concludes Sunday at a time and place to be determined, said Katie O’Hara, marketing and public relations supervisor for UMass Transit Services.

The idea for the campaign came from a former driver living in New York who has been volunteering at shelters there, O’Hara said. This driver contacted Transit Services earlier in the week, she said, and Glenn Barrington, operations manager, gave the go-ahead for the effort.

“These are our friends and family in need of help,” O’Hara said. “We’re hoping the community can come together and help ease some of the stress they’re experiencing.”

O’Hara suggested people interested in making donations bring a range of toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, cotton swabs, diapers, baby wipes, toothbrushes, razors, combs and hairbrushes and deodorant.

O’Hara said these supplies are important because shelters, which are housing both volunteers and people seeking refuge, are running low on them.

A bus and signs will be at drop-off locations. Many people came to the first collection day, she said. “It’s going great so far,” O’Hara said.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car on the campus has provided the large truck that will be driven to Ocean City, N.J., on Monday, O’Hara said. Target, Rocky’s Ace Hardware, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop all made donations of supplies, as well.

For more information, visit www.umass.edu/bus or UMass Transit’s Facebook or Twitter feed.

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