Annual Ride On Food Drive Starts April 6
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 6 through Saturday, April 12. 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 over 3,600 hungry families a month.
“Despite Montgomery County’s slow but steady economic recovery, more people are hungry and in need of food than ever before,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. “Give and Ride is a wonderful opportunity for bus riders to easily help other Montgomery County residents who are in need and be rewarded for their generosity with a free ride. It is also a great way to show our community spirit by giving and sharing.”
For more than 20 years, Ride On collected food during Thanksgiving. However, food donation centers receive more food than they can store during the winter holiday season. So several 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 and depends on the contribution we receive during a time of year when our food supplies are typically very low,” said Jackie DeCarlo, executive director for Manna Food Center. “We continue to see a dramatic increase in families needing food assistance, and the Give and Ride program helps ensure we don’t have to turn someone away for lack of food. We look forward to a very successful ‘Give and Ride’ collection this year. Special thanks to all Ride On drivers and passengers 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 typical, non-perishable food items, 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. “Ride On is proud to support the Manna Food Center’s efforts to feed the hungry in our community, and this is one way our riders and our staff can help.”
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 301.251.4850. Route and timetable information is also available on Ride On’s web site.