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Because Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacation: SEPTA's "Stop Hunger at Your Station" Food Drive

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Press Officer

"In the summer, children should be thinking about fun stuff, not where their next meal is coming from," said Philabundance Chief Operating Officer Melanie Jumonville as she joined SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey and SEPTA and Philabundance employees and volunteers to kick off the Authority's fourth annual "Stop Hunger at Your Station" food drive with a rousing pep rally at the Porch at 30th Street Station on May 30.

Sadly, for thousands of children in the Delaware Valley, summer is more than playing baseball, swimming and taking a break from school. "Hunger doesn't take a vacation," said Casey. "And for families already struggling to put food on their tables, this time of year is one of the most difficult."

Almost 300,000 children in Philabundance's service area receive free and reduced-cost breakfasts and lunches during the school year, but once school is out, that number drops dramatically, with the family food budget taking an especially hard hit. "A family of four with two school-aged children who get free lunch and breakfast must now provide 40 more meals a month for two children, which can add $110 a month to the grocery bill," said Jumonville.

Parents having to replace school-supplied meals and the fact that Philabundance has seen a 26 percent increase in need over the past year, means that the organization requires even more assistance in getting food to those in need.

SEPTA customers and employees can help Philabundance and its agencies replenish their shelves by participating in the Stop Hunger at Your Station drive. Through June 15, the Authority will collect donations of canned or shelf stabilized tuna, canned pasta, canned beef ravioli, plastic containers of creamy peanut butter and jelly and boxes of cereal and oatmeal at 45 stations and Transportation Centers.

"A lot of our citizens are really struggling," said Casey. This food drive is critical to Philabundance - it's one of the major food drives they have. This is a great cooperation between [SEPTA] and Philabundance to help them meet their goals."

Since 2009, SEPTA customers and employees have contributed more than 46 tons of food to Philabundance through the drive.

"SEPTA is throughout the five-county area," said Casey. "We have numerous drop-off points. We make it convenient for people to contribute to this cause. Even if they are not customers, chances are they live close to a SEPTA station and it's really easy for them to drop off food to support Philabundance."

In addition to the 45 collection locations, SEPTA's Philabundance bus will also make stops at the Authority's Transportation Centers and Regional Rail stations throughout the food drive. For the bus's appearance schedule, as well as a list of all drop-off locations, click here. Monetary donations made online at Philabundance's website will also count toward SEPTA's total.


SEPTA GM Joe Casey and Philabundance COO Melanie Jumonville (third and fourth from center) and SEPTA and Philabundance employees and volunteers kicked off the 2012 food drive.



Among the donations Philabundance is requesting are canned tuna, creamy peanut butter and canned pasta.



Operator Wesley Gregg Jr.and Bus Supervisor Michelle Norman will guide the Philabundance bus to SEPTA locations across the region.



The food drive's first donations once again came from students at Philadelphia's Nazareth Academy Grade School.