As a bus driver for Hudsonville Public Schools, Tim Cribley collects food items for the kids on his route as well as the more than 8,000 students who receive Hand2Hand in our West Michigan community.
Tim knows each child who rides his bus and greets them every morning by name. As a bus driver, he is the first one students see when they get on the bus in the morning and the last person they see when they get off the bus to go home. He gets to know them personally and sees a window into their lives at home. “The needs in my community are hidden under an aura of ‘everything is good’,” Tim said.
Table of giving
To help meet the needs of his students, Tim set up a ‘table of giving’ in the driver’s lounge at the transportation department. He encourages other bus drivers to donate food items. “Tim keeps it simple for all of us, all we need to do is buy something extra at the store and place it on the table,” says Rob Mathews, director of transportation for Hudsonville Public Schools. Each month a new need is highlighted, such as breakfast foods or snacks, and items are collected throughout the month. At the end of every month, Tim delivers the food to local churches that partner with Hand2Hand in providing food for West Michigan students.
A bus hero
Because of his work, Tim was named a Bus Guardian Hero. This program honors bus drivers who go above and beyond their daily responsibilities to support their community. “When COVID-19 struck our community, Tim stepped up to the extra work that all of our drivers did by developing and maintaining a clear seating chart and spending extra time sanitizing his bus. All the while he kept the table of giving rolling, bringing supplies to local church’s Hand2Hand food pantries,” said Rob Matthews, director of transportation for Hudsonville Public Schools. Tim and his wife also volunteer for the Hand2Hand program at their church. Tim was selected out of 1,000 drivers who were nominated for the award and we are honored that he chose Hand2Hand to receive a donation from Bus Guardian on his behalf.
All about the students
For him, the best part of his job will always be the students. “Seeing how the littles are so excited about going to school. Having them tell me that they lost a tooth during class time and then showing me the tooth! This is especially exciting when it is the first lost tooth,” Tim said. And the feeling is mutual. “My students like that I wear a straw hat. Some have taken to calling me Mr. Hat or Safari Tim,” Tim said. “What I wish people knew about bus drivers is that we truly care about their child, that we treat them as one of our own, and we will do everything we can to keep them safe.”
For those who know him, Tim isn’t someone who boasts about his accomplishments, so today we celebrate him and the work he does faithfully each and every day. Hand2Hand is blessed to receive $1,000 in honor of Tim and his Bus Guardian Hero Award. Thank you to Tim and the other bus drivers at Hudsonville Public Schools for being Hand2Hand in our community! We are forever grateful for the generous and caring heart that you have for our students.