Ride On bus passengers in Montgomery County can help needy families and receive free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On’s annual food drive from Sunday, April 22 through Saturday, April 28. Or, those who do not ride the bus but wish to donate food can participate by giving their donations to a bus operator at any Ride On bus stop. Food collected through the drive goes to Manna Food Center, which feeds 3,000 hungry families a month.
“Especially in these times of economic hardship, more people are in need of food than ever before and the food collected through Ride On’s ‘Give and Ride’ program is of tremendous benefit,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. “Give and Ride is a wonderful opportunity for bus riders to conveniently help other Montgomery County residents who are going hungry and for the County to recognize the donors’ generosity. It is also a great way to show our community spirit by giving and sharing.”
For more than 20 years, Ride On collected food at Thanksgiving. However, food donation centers tend to receive more food than they can store during the winter holiday season. So four years ago, Manna Food Center, the non-profit organization that distributes Ride On’s food contributions, asked Ride On to change the time of its food drive to the Spring.
“Manna is grateful for the continued partnership with Ride On,” said Kim Damion, executive director for Manna Food Center. “The spring food drive is very important as the need in our community continues to escalate. We have seen a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of families needing assistance compared to last year -- evidence that more families than ever before are struggling to put a meal on the table for their family. We look forward to a very successful ‘Give and Ride’ collection and ask for the community’s support so Manna can continue to meet the need in Montgomery County. Special thanks to all the drivers and passengers of Ride On for their support.”
During the Give and Ride promotion, food collection bags will be placed near the fare boxes on all Ride On buses. Riders using free shuttles and other transit services can participate by bringing their donations to a Ride On bus. In addition to non-perishable food, children’s items are also needed. Disposable diapers, formula, baby or toddler food and juice are especially useful to families in need. Plastic containers are preferred.
“We ask our riders to donate generously to this year’s food drive,” said Carolyn Biggins, general manager of Ride On. “There are more and more area families who are truly hungry, and this is one way our riders and our staff can help.”
All food donations, regardless of the number of cans, will be valued at the regular fare rate of $1.70. Passengers who transfer buses will need an additional food donation to ride free on the second bus.
Checks made out to Manna Food Center will also be accepted. Writing in “Ride On” on the “For” or “Memo” line in the lower left corner of a check will make it easier to track the success of the program.
For bus stop locations or bus schedules, call 311 or TDD/TTY 240-773-3556. Route and timetable information is also available on Ride On’s web site at www.rideonbus.com. SmarTrip® cards and passes can also be purchased online.
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