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Fayette Food Bank needs help

| Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

As it does each year at this time, the Fayette County Community Action Agency Food Bank is requesting help to make the holidays brighter for its clients.

“Around the holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — is a really hard time for our clients. They struggle to make ends meet,” said Kate Thompson, senior resource consultant with the agency. “We always send out an appeal letter asking those who are more fortunate to donate.”

Food banks nationwide have been dealt a double blow by the ongoing economic recession and state and federal funding cuts.

“Recent funding cutbacks of approximately $60,000 for the State Food Purchase Program as well as cutbacks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have made it increasingly more difficult for the food bank to fulfill its mission,” CEO James Stark wrote in the appeal letter. “Despite recent financial setbacks, community support has allowed us to continue serving residents who desperately need our help.”

Thompson said Wednesday that funding is drying up for nonprofit organizations. Community agencies are being asked to help fill the void.

The appeal letter is sent to area businesses, churches and organizations, Thompson added. The agency has nearly 50 food pantry sites countywide.

Food bank statistics note that last year, 1.8 million pounds of food were distributed through the food bank's network of pantry sites.

More than 5,500 households were provided with 30,125 food boxes, and 43,412 meals were provided through soup kitchens and shelters.

Individuals served by the food bank, what Thompson referred to as non-duplicate clients, numbered 10,178 last year.

Donations of nonperishable food and financial contributions are welcome.

“We definitely appreciate both,” Thompson said.

Financial donations can go further, she said, because of how the bank makes its food purchases, including buying in bulk. “It's more cost-effective,” she said.

In the four years Thompson has worked with the food bank, she has seen the need for its services grow.

“The trend in the last few years is that we see people who have jobs who still cannot make ends meet,” she said.

They may have had their work hours cut, or are struggling with increased food costs.

“Everybody has a story,” Thompson said.

Financial donations may be sent to FCCAA Food Bank, 119 N. Beeson Blvd., Uniontown, PA 15401.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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