Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Yes, We Can Make a Difference

Heather Redfern
Public Information Manager

SEPTA's commitment to serving the Greater Philadelphia region is kicked up a notch every year when the Authority holds its "Stop Hunger at Your Station" food drive to benefit Philabundance and its member agencies. Since 2009, SEPTA's employees and customers have donated approximately 139,000 pounds of food. Combined with monetary contributions of $62,000, SEPTA customers and employees have given the equivalent of over 264,000 meals for families across the Greater Philadelphia region.

This year's food drive will be held June 12-23 - just in time to help hundreds of thousands of children on summer break from school. Members of SEPTA's management team and employee ambassadors visited the Philadabundance Hunger Relief Center in South Philadelphia to launch the 2017 campaign.

"Every June, children count down the days until the end of the school year but for the families that depend on the nourishing meals their kids receive through school programs, summer can be a time of great uncertainty," said SEPTA Deputy General Manager Rich Burnfield.

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.

"SEPTA helps spread the news and inform the public that hunger is a problem here in the community," said Philabundance Executive Director Glenn Bergman. "With 300,000 children in our area facing hunger in the summer when they lose their school meals, we hope the public will participate in SEPTA's food drive to help drive hunger from our communities."

In 2016, SEPTA's customers and employees contributed almost 15,500 pounds of food - or 15,500 meals- for Philabundance and its member agencies. Monetary gifts of approximately $7,500 received during the food drive meant an additional 15,000 meals. "Every year, our customers and employees and customers have shown their incredible spirit of giving," said Burnfield.

Customers can look for donation barrels at 43 SEPTA stations and transportation centers throughout the Authority's service region. The most needed items are canned/shelf-stable tuna; canned pasta; canned beef stew; canned chili; creamy peanut butter (plastic containers only); jelly (plastic containers only); canned green beans; canned corn; and canned fruit. Donations can also be made online via Philabundance's website, or by texting "Food" to 41010 ($10 donation).

SEPTA employees will drop off their donations in red barrels at all SEPTA locations. To help staff experience the scope of Philabundance's operations and how donations help those in need, a group of SEPTA employee ambassadors spent time at the Philabundance Hunger Relief Center in South Philadelphia to sort and pack food. "Over the years, SEPTA employees have helped Philabundance not only by donating food to the 'Stop Hunger At Your Station' drive, but also by volunteering at the Hunger Relief Center," said Bergman. "The staff has served 280 hours of volunteer time for us."

Being involved with Philabundance has helped SEPTA staff see the impact of food insecurity, especially with children, across the Greater Philadelphia region "It's not always easy to recognize hunger in our community but we know there are many who struggle to provide nutritious meals for themselves and their families," said Burnfield. "It may be the nature of our business - serving customers - but I continue to be very proud and humbled by the level of generosity shown by the members of the SEPTA community."

Deputy GM Rich Burnfield announced the kick-off of the 2017 "Stop Hunger at Your Station" food drive at Philabundance's Hunger Relief Center.

A bus full of SEPTA employee ambassadors volunteered at the Hunger Relief Center on June 6, sorting and packing food for families in need.

Philabundance Executive Director Glenn Bergman thanked SEPTA customers and employees for their support of the annual food drive.

SEPTA staff packed much-needed protein donations in Philabundance's "cold room".

Deputy GM Burnfield helped sort donations to be distributed to families across the Greater Philadelphia region.