First Friday to mobilize for hungry
A local food truck operator hopes to celebrate a love of food while supplying it to the less fortunate during the inaugural First Friday canned food drive.
The LA Taco food truck, along with a half-dozen other mobile restaurateurs, plan to host the event, which will feature live music and prizes at the intersection of North Grant and Market streets in Kittanning from 5 to 10 p.m.
Walter Aguirre, owner of the LA Taco truck, said he hopes a variety of cuisines will attract not only a large crowd, but a large number of donations for the Armstrong County Community Action Program's food bank.
“People are struggling, and we need to help each other out, so I thought food brings communities and people together,” Aguirre said. “We realized they were experiencing a shortage of food, so we want to come together to replenish the food bank with something big.”
Organizers plan to host a variety of food vendors, with cuisine ranging from ribs and pierogies to South American and Asian fare, along with several desserts, with musical performances by the Shiners, the Molrowers, Jen & Steve and DJ Kevin Kline, Aguirre said.
Robin Rainey, director of family services at Armstrong County Community Action, said food collections, such as the First Friday event, help ensure the food bank's shelves stay stocked, especially its emergency reserves.
“A lot of times, these events stock our emergency pantry, since the food we purchase through the state goes to the local pantries for regular distribution,” Rainey said. “The emergency pantry is available for people who are dealing with fires or other difficult, unexpected situations.”
According to a report from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Armstrong County Community Action Program, 9,130 people, or approximately 13.1 percent of Armstrong's population, are eligible for assistance from the food bank. About 8,330 people, or 12.2 percent of the population, live in poverty.
The two groups served 3,200 people throughout Armstrong County in January, with approximately 65 first-time recipients. During the 2011-12 fiscal year, more than 1 million pounds of food were distributed to individuals and agencies throughout Armstrong County.
Armstrong County received $73,255 in state funding to purchase food during the 2012-13 fiscal year, which was a $23,021 decrease from the previous fiscal year, according to the report.
Despite the decrease in funding, Rainey said food bank officials have never turned anyone away.
“There is a little more of a need — we always see new families each month, but we also see families who drop out,” Rainey said. “These collections are always a big help, and we always seem to be able to keep the shelves of the food pantry stocked.”
Depending on the success of the event, Aguirre said, he hopes to organize similar events to benefit a variety of charities. In October, he plans to host a food truck event to raise money for breast cancer research, and another food drive in November.
“We just want to have the trucks out and have a good time, while doing something charitable,” Aguirre said.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Manorville man shares love for fishing
- Woman hosts annual sale for artists in her Valley Township home
- Kittanning News carries latest books by Boarts and Creel
- Armstrong children can visit Santa in a quiet, calm atmosphere
- Armstrong commissioner proposing selling county nursing home
- Funds dry up for Shannock Valley War Memorial upkeep
- Stanley’s Bar & Grill in Ford City offers free Thanksgiving dinner