PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An empty cafeteria is a sure sign school is out - but for many students, no school also means no breakfast or lunch. It's why for the last 10 years SEPTA has teamed up with Philabundance, the area's largest hunger relief organization, for the annual "Stop Hunger at Your Station" food drive.
"Can you imagine being a parent and wondering about how your child is going to be able to get though the day without a nourishing meal? This is so important to SEPTA and it's so important to the region," said Richard Burnfield with SEPTA.
As part of the mission to fight hunger, and help feed kids across the region, SEPTA will collect donations of canned goods in marked barrels - at 43 designated stations throughout the transit system. Last year about 35,000 meals were collected.
"I don't expect everybody to remember to bring a can to the station, but if they can make a donation that money is used for buying food," said Glenn Bergman with Philabundance.
Organizers say though the generosity of the community, they have been able to produce about 280,000 meals since the campaign started. Buses will be covered with signs reminding riders how they can give. Even if you don't use SEPTA, you can text a monetary donation.
It's a simple program with a huge benefit to local families in need.
"It is a big stress reliever when they can find food in their neighborhood when the schools let out. Children are not going around looking for food, it is the parents who have to do this, and so our goal is to try to find as many outlets for food as we possibly can," Bergman told Action News.
The community can participate in the 2018 drive by contributing the following items:
Canned/ Shelf-stable tuna
Canned Beef Stew
Creamy Peanut Butter (plastic containers only, please)
Jelly (plastic containers only, please)
Canned Green Beans
The public can also help feed neighbors in need by making a donation to Philabundance online at www.philabundance.org/septa, or by contributing $10 by texting "Food" to 41010.
For every dollar donated, Philabundance can provide two meals. Any monetary contribution will count toward the total collected through the SEPTA 2018 campaign.
Philabundance is the Greater Philadelphia region's largest hunger-relief organization. In fiscal year 2017, Philabundance distributed approximately 25 million pounds of food across the Delaware Valley. If you know someone in need of food assistance, tell them to call 1-800-5-Hungry. For any other questions about Philabundance, visit www.philabundance.org.