CLINTON — How many toys does it take to fill a full-size school bus?

Clinton School District bus drivers intend to find out on Saturday when they hold a Toys For Our Kids toy drive at the Clinton Wal-Mart.

Clinton School District Transportation Director Terry Fife said Clinton school bus drivers have been ringing bells for the Salvation Army kettles for years. Fife had the idea to start the toy drive program when he saw area food drives filling truck trailers. Fife mentioned the idea to Bus Monitor Kathy Hudson and Transportation Secretary Pam Rehr-Otto.

“I thought, ‘Why not put a bus out there and see if we can fill it with toys?’” Fife said.

This is the third year the bus drivers have conducted the toy drive. Rehr-Otto said last year’s drive collected around $2,500 worth of toys for local children.

“Every year it gets a little bit better,” Rehr-Otto said.

Clinton school bus drivers, assistants and monitors and the Clinton High School cheerleaders will be staffing the collection of toys in an attempt to fill the school bus outside Wal-Mart from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand from noon to 3 p.m. Workers will be ringing bells for the Salvation Army kettles. Customers also can donate money to the staff, who then will purchase toys to fill the bus.

The toys will be given to the Clinton office of the Salvation Army and will be handed out to children in the Gateway area as part of its Holiday Network program.

“It all stays local,” Fife said, “That’s what we like about it.”

Fife said he is very proud of the school district bus drivers.

“I’m happy that they’re doing this, but that’s what they do every day, they take care of the kids,” Fife said. Transportation employees are organizing the event, donating toys, ringing bells, spreading the word and volunteering their time or money.

“Our whole group that does this really enjoys it,” Rehr-Otto said, “It’s a fun day.”

Fife said the neat part is when the employees bring their families to help ring the bell or collect toys or when employees stop in even though they aren’t scheduled for a shift, just to say hello or bring hot chocolate.

“There’s a lot of great people that work here,” Fife said.

The bus drivers are challenging other district employees to help by bringing in toys, donating money or just showing their support.

“Even if each just brings one toy, think of what we’d have,” said Rehr-Otto.

Anyone wishing to make a donation of toys or money to the Toys For Our Kids drive can bring items to the bus barn at 3209 Dunn Road in Camanche.

“If they can’t make it there on Saturday, we do have a box out here,” said Rehr-Otto.

The bus barn is located near the intersection of U.S. 30 and Mill Creek Parkway and is open Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.