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Helping Our Neighbors One Can at a Time

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Public Information Manager

Since 2009, SEPTA's employees and customers have donated more than 100 tons of food - that's the equivalent of over 200,000 meals - for families across the Greater Philadelphia region through the "Stop Hunger at Your Station" Food Drive for Philabundance. Recently the Authority's employees got a hands-on, behind-the-scenes glimpse of how their contributions of canned goods and jars of peanut butter and jelly go from the donation bins at SEPTA locations to the food recipients.

"We took about 80 employee ambassadors to the Philabundance Hunger Relief Center in South Philadelphia on two days to sort and pack food donations," said Pat Morris, SEPTA's Senior Director of Administration and Finance and food drive coordinator. "Stop Hunger at Your Station is one of our biggest community outreach activities. Going to the Hunger Relief Center not only helped Philabundance in preparing food for distribution, it allowed our ambassadors to see the next step in the food drive process."

Donned in their bright red SEPTA Ambassador jackets, the volunteers spent the mornings sorting and packing frozen meats, canned goods, boxes of cereal and bags of rice to be delivered to 400 member agencies served by Philabundance.

"We're helping people feed people," said Marlene Broaddus-Waddell, a manager in SEPTA's Control Center who spent the time assembling boxes for the sorted food.

"It really hits home to see all the food that will be distributed throughout the five-county area," said Dee Montague. A bus operator from SEPTA's Frontier Division, Montague helps coordinate the contributions of her co-workers. "I'm honored to be here. What little bit I am doing here can impact somebody's life."

Philabundance is the Greater Philadelphia Region's largest hunger-relief organization, providing food to approximately 75,000 people per week through its member agencies. "Every year, we count on our customers and employees to help their neighbors in need by supporting our Stop Hunger at Your Station food drive," said SEPTA GM Joe Casey. "Through their volunteer efforts at the Hunger Relief Center, our employees gained an even better understanding of how much their generosity is appreciated."

SEPTA volunteers received their instructions from Philabundance staff before hitting the Hunger Relief Center's distribution area.

Boxes filled with bags of food to be sorted waited for the SEPTA ambassadors.

An assembly line of ambassadors prepared to pack donations.

Ambassador Jim Dellipriscoli braved the frigid freezer room to sort donations of frozen meats.

Dan Amspacher taped filled boxes for shrinkwrapping.