The Van Buren Police Department was out in full force Saturday collecting items to donate to the Van Buren Senior Center in the department’s inaugural Stuff the Squad Car event.

Members of the police department were set up outside WalMart on Fayetteville Road in Van Buren. They handed out pieces of paper to shoppers that contained a list of some of the items they were collecting. Participating shoppers purchased the items, then put the bagged items into one of the patrol cars parked in front of the store.

The event started at 11 a.m. and by 1:30 p.m. they had already loaded up one pickup truck full of items for the senior center and were close to filling two other squad cars.

“It’s going very well, actually better than we expected,” Sergeant Jonathan Wear said at the event’s halfway point. “We expect to probably fill that truck again. We appreciate everyone who’s come by and donated items.”

They eventually filled both of those squad cars and made two more trips to drop off items with the truck.

And even though the original focus wasn’t necessarily on taking cash donations, a total of $850 was given for the cause.

Suggestions from the shopping list included such food items as tuna, vienna sausages, SPAM, pudding cups and snacks and toiletry items like shampoo, deodorant, lotion and powder.

Wear said he had hear from some of the senior citizens who would be receiving the items and said they were very appreciative.

“We’ve had several senior citizens come up and thank us for doing this,” he said.