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By KATHRYN BERMINGHAM

THE overwhelming generosity of commuters and staff at Pakenham train station will put food on the table for hundreds of families in need this Christmas.
On Monday 7 December, station employees handed over an estimated 4000 items of food to the 4Cs Crisis Relief Centre and Food Bank.
The food was collected over the two weeks leading up to 5 December at stations in the Dandenong group, from South Yarra through to Pakenham and Cranbourne.
Pakenham’s Senior Station Master Wayne De La Harpe said the positive response from passengers and enthusiasm of staff meant the drive had well and truly exceeded expectations.
“If we had made it to 1000 cans, I would have been rapt, so I am stoked with the amount we received,” he said.
“We had a massive amount of engagement from passengers, so much so that we were able to donate 30 boxes of food to the 4Cs on Monday.”
Signs displayed at participating stations invited passengers to drop off non-perishable items including tinned fruit, vegetables, jam, spaghetti, baked beans, Vegemite, honey and peanut butter.
As well as canned food, station staff donated produce grown in a vegetable garden grown in one of two planter boxes on the platform at Pakenham.
Mr De La Harpe said he hoped this food drive would be the beginning of a series of charity initiatives run by the station.
“Another idea we’ve had is for staff to donate money that could possibly be used to buy Mykis that will be given to the 4Cs to distribute,” he said.
“I’d also like to run a pet drive to gather food for The Lost Dogs Home. It would be great to help an organisation like that.”

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