PINOLE -- Stuff-a-Bus, WestCAT's annual holiday food drive bus festooned in seasonal finery, will stop in Pinole and Hercules this month, but with a new twist: the California Highway Patrol has come on board, according to a news release from WestCAT.

The CHP will conduct its "Chips for Kids" holiday toy drive aboard Stuff-a-Bus, while WestCAT will collect nonperishable items for the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano and coats for Mission Solano.

Santa will entertain visitors, while elves from the Highway Patrol, WestCAT and its transportation contractor, MV Transportation, will handle the donations.

Toys should be new and unwrapped.

Food must be nonperishable; a list of most wanted items includes peanut butter, hearty soups, dried or canned beans, canned chicken or tuna, canned vegetables and fruit, canned 100-percent fruit juice, canned tomato products, enriched rice and pasta, iron enriched cereal and whole grain cereal.

Coats can be new or used, but should be clean and in good condition; all sizes will be accepted. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

Stuff-a-Bus will take donations from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the Safeway grocery store parking lot at 1421 Tara Hills Drive in Pinole, and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 20 in the Lucky supermarket parking lot at 1590 Sycamore Ave. in Hercules.

Donations can also be made at the WestCAT office, 601 Walter Ave., Pinole, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays until Dec. 19.

People who donate get a chance to win a $40 WestCAT bus pass.

WestCAT operates local buses in northwestern Contra Costa County; express buses between Martinez and El Cerrito Del Norte BART; BART Express buses between Hercules, Pinole, Richmond's Hilltop area and El Cerrito Del Norte BART; and Lynx express buses between Rodeo-Hercules and San Francisco's Transbay Terminal.

For more information about Stuff-a-Bus or WestCAT bus service, go to www.westcat.org or call 510-724-3331.

For information about the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, go to www.foodbankccs.org.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760 or tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.