A big challenge demands a big response.

That’s the visual message that came through loud and clear when some 85 Toyota Tundras, loaded with pallets of food gathered to aid those in need in Philadelphia, proceeded in caravan formation through the streets of the city earlier this month.

The high-profile “Hauling Away Hunger” parade marked the culmination of an outpouring of time, effort and money by the 25 dealers in the Tri-State Toyota Dealers Association, more than 30 of the dealers’ business partners as well as Central Atlantic Toyota, Toyota’s New York Region and Toyota Financial Services. Their collective goodwill empowered Philabundance, the largest hunger-relief organization in the Philadelphia metro area, to purchase 654,000 pounds of food — the most in the event’s 14-year history and 45% more than the last time it could be held, in December 2019, prior to the pandemic.

“It’s just unconscionable to think that so many people in our communities are in need of food, and Philabundance is a major lifeline to those who are food-insecure,” said Paul Muller, president of the Tri-State Toyota Dealers Association. “There are a lot of things people should be, and ‘hungry’ is not one of them. That’s what makes it so important for us to stay involved to help drive hunger away from every table in our local communities.”

The caravan, extending more than seven football fields, started at Philabundance’s North Philadelphia warehouse and then made the 7-mile trip to Citizens Bank Park where it was greeted by a throng of supporters, media personalities as well as local sports icons, mascots and cheer teams. The aim was to call attention to the fact that one in 10 people in Philadelphia are food-insecure and encourage others to do what they can to help change that.

“Thanks to Toyota and its business partners, Philabundance will be able to provide food to those well into 2023,” said Philabundance CEO Loree Jones Brown. “These donations are needed more than ever as many families struggle to put food on the table due to the increased cost of food. This donation will provide much-needed relief for our neighbors in need.”

To get involved, visit the Philabundance website or join the conversation on social media with the hashtags #HaulAwayHunger and #TundraFoodDrive.

Originally published March 3, 2023

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