By Valerie Garman | Twitter: @ValerieGarman
Published: Monday, October 27, 2014 at 06:30 PM.
PANAMA CITY — Bay Town Trolley officials are encouraging riders to trade their fare cash for cans this week to help kick off the 14th annual Harvest Trolley Food Drive. Now through Saturday, Bay Town Trolley is offering a free one-way fare, worth $1.50, for riders who donate three nonperishable food items.
Conducted through a partnership with Chautauqua Learn & Serve Charter School, donations from the drive will be distributed by the Salvation Army, which helped feed more than 1,000 needy families last year.
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“The Harvest Trolley is something we’ve done 14 years running now,” said trolley operations manager Gene Keen. “Bay Town Trolley partners with Chautauqua Learning Center to encourage community members and local businesses to donate nonperishable food items.”
While the trolley system is offering only free fares for food this week, donations also can be dropped off at more than 20 participating business locations through Nov. 9.
“First Transit is pleased to partner with the Chautauqua school for this year’s Harvest Trolley,” said Bay Town Trolley general manager Nancy Lohr. “It’s great to see the community come together for such a worthy cause. We’re honored to be a part of that.”
While waiting for a transfer at the Panama City Marina on Monday, rider Elizabeth Yong said she looks forward to donating to the Harvest Trolley every year.
Young was on her way to the Career Source Gulf Coast Job Center on U.S. 231, where she volunteers her time in exchange for government cash assistance to help care for her 2-year-old son. He was born with his intestines on the outside of his body and still requires specialized care, even after undergoing surgery as an infant.
“This is how we get to our doctor’s appointments and commute for everyday life,” Young said of the trolley. “We don’t donate for the ride; we just do it to donate. ... It’s our way of giving back.”