From April 19 to April 25, Ride-On buses held a “Give and Ride” food drive, where a bus rider could donate food in exchange for a free ride. The donated food went to Manna Food Center, a non-profit in Rockville seeking to end hunger in the county.
Since riders were helping their communities while also saving the money needed for the bus, the program provided a win-win situation. Manna collected 8767 pounds of food from the drive.
“Food drives are important source of donated food for Manna. In total we collect more than 550,000 pounds of food from the community through direct donations and food drives each year. What is great about food drives is that donors have the opportunity to purchase and donate the foods that are in the most demand. We always need more low-sodium canned goods, fruit packed in juice and whole grain items. This food drive focused on those items and they will have a great impact on the consistency of the food we provide to those we serve,“ explained Mark Foraker, Director of Development and Communications at Manna.
“Give and Ride” has been helping families for many years. While all types of food were welcome for the drive, this year’s focus was on “Kid-friendly foods.” The Manna Food Center also accepted non-perishable food and single serving food items, and nutritious ones that would better provide for families are an added bonus. The Smart Snacks Program, founded by Manna, distributes these healthy foods to children.
Many Montgomery County Schools support Manna, which distributes food to around 40 thousand people each year. The food collected also goes to group homes, emergency shelters and soup kitchens.
“Manna is the primary food resource for people experiencing hunger and food insecurity in Montgomery County, Maryland. Our primary goal is to end hunger in Montgomery County not only through food distribution but through education. To support that we have placed a greater focus in the nutritional quality of the food we provide and have increased our efforts around nutrition education such as grocery store tours that focus on eating healthy on a budget. We are proud of our work but cannot achieve our primary goal of ending hunger without support from the community. We are extremely thankful to all who donate food and funds as our work is not possible without their involvement and support” Foraker said.
Article by the MoCo Student Staff Writer Syllia Newstead of Richard Montgomery High School