School may be out for the summer, but hunger will be in session. Across the Greater Philadelphia region, the dismissal bells marking the end of the academic year will soon sound and hundreds of thousands of local kids will no longer receive the free and reduced-cost meals they are given at school. Many of these children will go without the nutritious food they need to grow and flourish.
SEPTA customers can help fight hunger in the Greater Philadelphia region by participating in SEPTA’s eighth annual “Stop Hunger at Your Station” food drive from June 6-20. SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel, Philabundance Executive Director Glenn Bergman, SEPTA employee ambassadors and Philabundance volunteers kicked off the drive today at a rally at Dilworth Park.
“Summertime is especially hard for parents struggling to feed their families,” said Knueppel. “During the school year, their children receive free or reduced-cost breakfasts and lunches. In the summer, families must find a way to provide two additional meals for their children every day. The items we collect through the ‘Stop Hunger at Your Station’ drive will help parents across our region give their children necessary and nutritious food.”
According to Feeding America, in 2014, 22.4 percent of children in Philadelphia county faced food insecurity issues – lack of regular access to healthy and nutritious food. Additionally, 68 percent of children in Philadelphia county come from households meeting the requirements for nutrition programs. Philabundance provides food to approximately 90,000 people per week in nine counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey through its own food distribution programs, as well as through 350 member agencies such as food cupboards, shelters and emergency kitchens. Of the low-income area residents served by the organization, 15 percent are senior citizens and 30 percent are children.
“We are so grateful that SEPTA chose to hold its annual ‘Stop Hunger at Your Station’ drive this summer, when so many parents face the difficult task of making up for the loss of free meals their children receive through their schools,” said Glenn Bergman, Executive Director of Philabundance. “Due to food drives and donations like these, children will have more access to the food they need to return to school ready to learn.”
From June 6-20, SEPTA will collect donations of canned goods in marked barrels at 43 designated stations throughout the transit system. CCT customers wishing to participate will be able to give their canned good contributions to their vehicle operator. For donation locations, visit https://www.septa.org/events/philabundance.html.
In 2015, SEPTA’s customers and employees contributed almost 14,000 pounds of food – or 14,000 meals – for Philabundance and its member agencies. Monetary gifts of almost $7,900 received during the food drive meant an additional 15,000 meals for residents served by Philabundance and its member agencies.
Since 2009, SEPTA customers and employees have donated more than 123,500 pounds of food. With monetary contributions of over $45,000, SEPTA customers and employees have given the equivalent of more than 214,400 meals. The community can participate in the 2016 drive by contributing the following items:
- Canned/Shelf-stable tuna
- Canned Pasta
- Canned Beef Stew
- Canned Chili
- Creamy Peanut Butter (plastic containers only, please)
- Jelly (plastic containers only, please)
- Canned Green Beans
- Canned Corn
- Canned Fruit
The public can also help feed neighbors in need by making a donation to Philabundance online at http://www.philabundance.org/septa, or by contributing $10 by texting “Food” to 41010. For every dollar donated, Philabundance can provide two meals. Any monetary contribution will count toward the total collected through the SEPTA 2016 campaign.
Philabundance is the Greater Philadelphia region’s largest hunger-relief organization. In 2015, Philabundance distributed approximately 30 million pounds of food across the Delaware Valley.
If you know someone in need of food assistance, tell them to call 1-866-3-Hungry. For any other questions about Philabundance, visit http://www.philabundance.org.