StarMetro began their annual Stuff the Bus food drive benefit this Thursday, Jan. 21. The benefit is in conjunction with Second Harvest of the Big Bend.
The event launched that morning at the C.K. Steele Plaza and featured community leaders, live music by the Shelter band and free refreshments.The event has been taken over by Talgov for the past 3 years and is an effort to combat the slow months of donations for Second Harvest, which are February and March.
The kick off event was to encourage Tallahassee’s community to donate non-perishable food items in exchange for free bus passes for same day travel that Thursday.
Lavonia Jones, who is the communications and marketing specialist has been with the City of Tallahassee for three years and has spearheaded this event ever since.
“We went to Second Harvest and asked them what do they need and they told us their slower times were these two months,” Jones said. “Because of food drives and clothes drives during the holidays they get tons of support, but once they told us during February and March was when they needed support that’s when we decided to have it.”
Jones also emphasized that this event is not necessarily for the homeless but for anyone in need.
“The thing about it with Second Harvest, it’s about more than just the homeless. You have people that experience food scarcity people that maybe the working poor they could be our neighbors,” Jones said. “They could be going hungry and we not even know it.”
Keyana White, english student at Tallahassee Community College student and patron of StarMetro feels that this effort is beneficial.
“I believe this is a great initiative to get people to donate and the fact that the people who donate also get a benefit for helping someone else is always a plus,” White said.
In addition to benefiting the city Sandra Manning, Tallahassee Utility Marketing Manager feels this event is also a way to unify citizens.
“It is apart of our annual give back to help the community. It’s all about bringing the people of Tallahassee together for a common goal. It is our pleasure to bring the community together for such a wonderful common cause, by helping those that are in need,” Manning said. “Something that is paramount is this event could not be made possible without our partners. Last year we collected two tons worth of food and this year we hope to do even more donations this year thanks to the close to fifty partners we have.”
In 2015, StarMetro collected 4,000 pounds almost two tons of food including canned vegetables, boxes of pasta, rice, cereal and canned meat.
The benefit will last until Feb. 15 with more than 40 donation locations throughout Tallahassee.
For the full of list of donation locations please visit talgov.com/Metro. Second Harvest also accepts online donations at fight hunger.org. For a full list of of this years Stuff the Bus partners please visit http://www.talgov.com/starmetro/News/Stuff-the-Bus-is-Back-5029.aspx