Ride On is sponsoring its 30th annual Give and Ride food drive from April 24 to 30. During the drive, bus passengers may donate canned or nonperishable food for area students and receive a free bus ride in return.
All donations go to the non-profit Manna Food Center to supplement its Smart Sack program of weekend food for 2,450 MCPS elementary school students. These students qualify for free and reduced price school lunches and Manna distributes Smart Sacks of nutritious food for the weekend. Helpful donations include canned fruit or vegetables, canned chicken, tuna or salmon, canned or dried beans, peanut butter, roasted nuts, whole grain rice or pasta, oatmeal, shelf-stable milk boxes and granola/cereal bars. Plastic containers are preferred.
Food collection bags will be placed near the fare box on all of Ride On’s buses. All food donations, whether one or more cans, will be valued at the regular fare rate of $1.75. An additional donation is required when transferring to other buses.
“About 40 percent of Montgomery County elementary school students are eligible for free or reduced meals during school and some also need help on the weekends,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. “We’ve been collecting food through Give and Ride for 30 years, and will continue as long as it is needed.”
“Once again, our partners at Ride On are giving a boost to Manna Food Center’s work in elementary schools,” said Jackie DeCarlo, executive director for Manna Food Center. “Every weekend we provide nearly 2,500 students at risk of hunger with food to cook family-friendly meals. The Give and Ride program will help us build our inventory of nutritious foods like boxed milk and multigrain pasta. We look forward to a very successful ‘Give and Ride’ collection this year thanks to the dedicated drivers and generous passengers.”
“The Give and Ride program is a wonderful opportunity for bus riders to conveniently help those who are going hungry, and for the County to recognize the donors’ generosity,” said Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Al Roshdieh. “It’s another great way to show our community spirit by giving and sharing.”
“We appreciate the generosity of our riders and ask them to donate food during April, as they have for the past 29 years,” said Division of Transit Services Chief Carolyn Biggins. “Ride On is proud to support Manna Food Center’s initiative to distribute food to elementary school students; we’re also proud that our riders and staff are part of the effort.”
Residents 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. Checks made out to Manna Food Center will also be accepted. Writing “Ride On” on the “Memo” line in the lower left corner of a check will make it easier to track the success of the program.