Hunger knows no age, race, gender or zip code. With approximately one million Delaware Valley residents – children, senior citizens and working men and women – dealing with hunger issues every day, it is possible that the person sitting next to you on your daily commute on a SEPTA bus, train or trolley has difficulty putting food on his or her table.
To help fight hunger in the Greater Philadelphia region, SEPTA will hold its third annual “Stop Hunger at Your Station” food drive to benefit Philabundance from June 6 through June 20. SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey, joined by Philabundance President and Executive Director Bill Clark, kicked off the food drive with a hunger rally at City Hall.
“The ‘Stop Hunger at Your Station’ Food Drive is one of our most important community activities. And, given the current statistics of hunger and poverty in the Greater Philadelphia region, it is even more crucial for SEPTA to assist Philabundance with the food drive,” said Casey.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009, the number of people living in poverty in Philadelphia rose 11.3 percent. In Chester County, the region’s most affluent county, that number rose 10.7 percent. Even more alarming is that the Food Research and Action Center’s 2011 Food Hardship Study places Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District among America’s top five districts where residents could not afford to buy enough food at some point last year.
“I want to commend SEPTA for their commitment to fighting hunger and for the outstanding partnership they’ve developed with Philabundance,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “I urge all Philadelphians to support the third annual ‘Stop Hunger at Your Station’ food drive. Together we can make sure that no one in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection goes hungry.”
“‘Stop Hunger at Your Station’ could not come at a better time, as the need for food assistance is rising across the nine counties we serve,” said Clark. “Philabundances’s dry food donations are down 68 percent from this time last year, which makes meeting the mounting need for food more daunting than ever. SEPTA’s drive will help us get much-needed food to thousands of people struggling to put food on the table.”
From June 6-20, SEPTA will collect donations of canned and boxed goods in marked barrels at more than 50 designated stations throughout the transit system, including – for the first time – SEPTA’s Delaware Regional Rail Stations in Claymont, Churchmans Crossing and Newark. CCT Connect 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.
In 2010, SEPTA’s passengers and employees contributed the equivalent of 19.6 tons of food, doubling the 2009 donations. To meet the authority’s goal of 20 tons of food for 2011, the community can help by contributing canned or shelf stabilized tuna, canned pasta, canned beef ravioli, creamy peanut butter (plastic containers only) and jelly (plastic containers only).
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 2011 campaign.
“Our passengers and employees have gone above and beyond to make SEPTA’s food drive an annual success,” Casey said. “I look forward to their continued support as we attempt to collect even more food for our neighbors in need this year.”
Philabundance is the Greater Philadelphia region’s largest hunger-relief organization. In 2010, Philabundance distributed 21 million pounds of food across the Delaware Valley.
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.