By Linda Viertel—
Representatives from Westchester’s SMART Commute Program, Feeding Westchester, and Stop & Shop joined together to host a Bee-Line “Stuff a Bus” food drive. The drive collected 10,291 pounds of food, equaling 8,575 meals, aiming to address food insecurity in Westchester, a problem that has only grown since the start of the pandemic in March.
“Through our partnership with Feeding Westchester and Stop & Shop, we were able to make a huge impact in the community with this year’s Stuff a Bus event,” said Heather Ann Reiners, Program Director for SMART Commute (Westchester County Department of Public Works & Transportation). “The event produced 4,838 more pounds of food than last year, at a time when it is now needed more than ever. We are grateful to everyone who donated to make this event a success.”
Since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, the need for food in Westchester County has significantly increased. Feeding Westchester’s network of agency partners and distribution programs throughout the county are serving more than 300,000 people experiencing hunger each month—more than twice as many as pre-COVID.
“For many years, Feeding Westchester and Stop & Shop have worked together to help eradicate food insecurity across Westchester County. For the last two years, we have teamed up with the Bee Line to collect food in Stop & Shop stores across Westchester Country for those in need,” stated Maura O’Brien, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., Manager of External Communications & External Relations. “Additional support is provided to Feeding Westchester throughout the year by neighborhood Stop & Shop stores.”
Donation bins were on site at all fourteen Stop & Shop locations throughout Westchester County for one week. The program concluded with a “stuff the bus” event at the Ossining Stop & Shop on Thursday, October 29 and at the Yonkers Stop & Shop on Friday, October 30.
Stop & Shop is currently running its annual Food for Friends campaign in all stores. Customers can donate $1, $3 or $5 at checkout or round up their order to the next dollar between now and Thanksgiving. “100% of proceeds go directly to Feeding Westchester in its fight against food insecurity,” O’Brien explained. “Customers can also donate non-perishable items in all of our stores in designated bins located at the front of the store. And, most recently,” she added, “a donation of 1,000 Thanksgiving turkeys was provided to Feeding Westchester to help ensure that everyone has access to a wholesome holiday meal this Thanksgiving.”