Summer is coming. The last bells of the school year will soon ring and children throughout the Greater Philadelphia region will head to the pool, camp and on family excursions. Sadly, for thousands of Delaware Valley kids, summer means that they will no longer receive the free and reduced-cost meals they are given at school. Many of these children will go without the nutritious meals they need to grow and flourish. Hunger doesn’t take a vacation.
SEPTA customers can help fight hunger in the Greater Philadelphia region by participating in SEPTA’s fourth annual “Stop Hunger at Your Station” food drive to benefit Philabundance from June 4 through June 15. SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey, joined by Philabundance Chief Operating Officer Melanie Jumonville, kicked off the food drive with a hunger rally at The Porch at 30th Street Station today.
“Many people participate in food drives during the winter, but summer is an especially difficult time for families struggling to put food on their tables,” said Casey. “Because children aren’t in school to receive breakfasts and lunches, parents have to provide two additional meals every day. The items we collect through the ‘Stop Hunger at Your Station’ Food Drive are crucial in helping Philabundance feed families across our region.”
According to the 2010 American Community Survey 1 year estimates, 36.4 percent of Philadelphia’s children live at or below the federal poverty line – one of the highest rates in the country. Additionally, Philabundance agencies have seen a 26 percent increase in need over the past year, compared to a 22 percent increase in the previous year. Of the population Philabundance serves, approximately 23 percent are children.
“A family of four with two school-aged children who get free lunch and breakfast are now taxed with providing 40 more meals a month for two children, which can add $110 a month to the grocery bill,” said Jumonville. “Any additional expense can be devastating to a family that is barely getting by.”
From June 4-15, SEPTA will collect donations of canned and boxed goods in marked barrels at 45 designated locations throughout the transit system. CCT customers wishing to participate will be able to give their canned good contributions to their vehicle operator. A specially-wrapped “Stop Hunger at Your Station” SEPTA bus will also tour the region throughout the food drive, collecting donations.
“The ‘Stop Hunger at Your Station’ campaign is an opportunity for people in the Philadelphia region to help their neighbors during the summer months when children are out of school and in need of daytime meals,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. “Everyone can do their part by donating a non-perishable item at their local SEPTA station. Working together, we can ensure that everyone has a fun, healthy summer.”
In 2011, SEPTA’s customers and employees contributed almost 17.8 tons of food, bringing the three-year food drive total to more than 46 tons. The community can participate in the 2012 drive by contributing the following items:
- Canned or shelf stabilized tuna
- Canned pasta
- Canned beef ravioli
- Creamy peanut butter (plastic containers only, please)
- Jelly (plastic containers only, please)
The public can also make a donation to Philabundance online to help feed neighbors in need. Any monetary contribution will count toward the total collected through the SEPTA 2012 campaign.
Philabundance is the largest hunger-relief organization in the Delaware Valley, serving nine counties and feeding 65,000 people every week. In 2011, Philabundance distributed 19 million pounds of food in its service area and an additional two million pounds to other area food banks.
If you know someone in need of food assistance, tell them to call (800) 319-Food (3663). For any other questions about Philabundance, visit www.philabundance.org.
Collection barrels will be available at 45 SEPTA locations, including the lobby of SEPTA’s 1234 Market Street Headquarters. At outlying Regional Rail Stations, the collection barrels will be located in the ticket office. CCT customers may give food contributions to their drivers.
Center City Regional Rail Stations:
West Trenton Line:
Chestnut Hill East Line:
Chestnut Hill West Line:
Chestnut Hill West
Fox Chase Line:
Broad Street Line:
69th Street Transportation Center:
Bus and Trolley routes, Market-Frankford Line, Norristown High Speed Line
Frankford Transportation Center:
Bus and Trackless Trolley routes, Market-Frankford Line
Olney Transportation Center:
Norristown Transportation Center:
Bus routes, Norristown High Speed Line