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Stopping Hunger at Your Station

To fight hunger in its service area, SEPTA is partnering with Philabundance on the third annual "Stop Hunger at Your Station" food drive.

The statistics are staggering. In its 2009 report, the U.S. Census Bureau stated that 25 percent of the Philadelphia population was living in poverty. An American Community Survey found that one out of three children in Philadelphia is living at or below the federal poverty line.

And it's not just the city's citizens who are suffering. In 2009, the number of people living in poverty in Chester County, the Delaware Valley's most affluent county, rose 10.7 percent. The Food Research and Action Center's 2011 Food Hardship Study ranked Pennsylvania's First Congressional District, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Delaware Counties, among America's top five districts where residents could not afford to buy enough food at some point last year.

All of these numbers mean that even more of our neighbors are seeking out Philabundance agencies to help put food on their tables. And that means that Philabundance needs more assistance in getting food to those in need.

Through June 20, SEPTA passengers and employees can drop off donations of canned or shelf stabilized tuna, canned pasta, canned beef ravioli and plastic containers of creamy peanut butter and jelly at more than 50 locations throughout the Authority.

"Since 2009, our customers and employees have donated the equivalent of almost 30 tons of food to Philabundance," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. "I am challenging everyone to help us surpass those numbers and collect at least 20 tons of food this year."

In addition to an overall increase in demand for its services, summer is an especially hard time for Philabundance. Food from holiday collections is long gone and families with children who might receive free breakfasts and lunches at school are left to find replacements for those meals.

"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," said Philabundance President and Executive Director Bill Clark. "SEPTA's drive will help us get much-needed food to thousands of people struggling to put food on the table."

The 2011 "Stop Hunger at Your Station" drive had an enthusiastic kick-off on June 1. First, the specially wrapped Philabundance bus made a stop at Northeast Philadelphia's Nazareth Academy Grade School to pick up the more than 500 canned goods collected by the school's first through eighth grade students. Later that day, the bus travelled to City Hall, where Casey, Clark and Catherine Wolfgang, Chief Service Officer in the Mayor's Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, joined SEPTA employee ambassadors, City Year corps members and Philabundance volunteers to rally against hunger.

"I know with our passengers' and employees' dedication to such a worthy organization, we can give Philabundance's inventory a much-needed boost," Casey said.

The SEPTA Philabundance bus will 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 food collection locations, click here. Can't get to a station? You can make a monetary donation at All donations made through the website will count toward SEPTA's total.

From left: SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey, Philabundance President and Executive Director Bill Clark and Catherine Wolfgang, Chief Services Officer in the Mayor's Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Services rallied with SEPTA employees, City Year corps members and Philabundance volunteers at City Hall.

Items in need include canned pasta and peanut butter and jelly in plastic containers.

Passengers can drop off donations at more than 50 locations across the Authority, including Suburban Station.

The wrapped bus, shown here with operator Lisa Childs, will make stops across the Delaware Valley throughout the food drive.

Nazareth Academy Grade School students held their own rally for the food drive.