Fayette food banks offer hand to hungry
By Marilyn Forbes
Published: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 8:48 p.m.
It does not take a lot of planning or effort to host a food drive, and the countless families and individuals in Fayette County who are in need would be appreciative of any and all support from their neighbors and their communities.
September is known as “Hunger Action Month,” and the Fayette County Community Action Agency that hosts the county food bank capitalizes on the month to help with programs such as their Weekend Snack Pack Program.
“The Food Bank's Weekend Snack Pack Programs provides a backpack filled with nutritious foods to needy children in Fayette County who do not have access to meals on the weekends when school is not in session and summer feeding programs are closed,” FCCAA Food Bank Project manager Jamie Brink said, adding that several area churches are hosting food drives during the month specifically for this program. “The Weekend Snack Pack Program serves 75 children per week. Children receive the backpack filled with items such as Hormel complete dinners, E-Z Mac, peanut butter, bread, 100 percent juices, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee flip top meals, individual crackers, tuna/chicken packets, cereal on Fridays and they are picked up the following Monday to be re-filled for the next weekend.”
With the holidays on the horizon, the local food banks traditional see an increase in need, and although Fayette county sees about 2,500 families on a regular basis, the need and the number of those who find themselves looking for some assistance are always on the rise.
“(We see) 200 new families monthly — increase in new households, but maintaining at approximately 2,500 households monthly, in addition to distributing 925 Commodity Supplemental Food Program boxes, which are nutritional boxes for seniors age 60 and over,” Brink said. “The food bank is entering its busiest time of year – September through January. To help in the following months, we have several events planned, such as the Chamber of Commerce Fall Food Drive and Fall Food Share with Giant Eagle. We are hoping to organize more food drives with businesses and organizations for the holiday season.”
Brink said that there are many ways that communities, groups and individuals can help support the food bank and their neighbors that utilize the facility and its aide.
“The general public can make monetary donations to FCCAA Food Bank, or, donations of nonperishable food items, no glass containers,” Brink said. “Monetary donations can be mailed to/food donations can be dropped off at 108 N. Beeson Ave., Uniontown, PA 15401. Monetary donations are also accepted via PayPal from the FCCAA website www.fccaa.org.”
Brink added that volunteers are always needed and welcome and for those with gardens, extra produce is always a big help.
“If people have food left from their gardens, the food bank will distribute it to local residents in need, Brink said.
Brink also asked for people to “like” the FCCAA face book page at https://www.facebook.com/FCCAA15401?ref=hl and to turn their Facebook and Twitter profiles orange for the month of September, to promote hunger awareness through social media.
Brink also suggested that members from the community encourage members of congress to support their local Food Banks in Pennsylvania through the Feeding America Facebook Page (http://tinyurl.com/og9hy7e).
“The food bank is always grateful for any donation we receive, whether it is big or small. We appreciate the support we receive from local businesses and organizations,” Brink said.
Also scheduled for September:
Fayette County commissioners will be doing a proclamation claiming September as Hunger Action Month.
The Food Bank is open for tours; contact Jamie Brink, Food Bank Project Manager, to schedule at 724-437-6050, Ext. 1264.
Mt. Mariah Baptist School will be doing a food pyramid for Hunger Action Month
Christian Klay Winery and Stone House Restaurant are holding a Chili Cook Off on Sept. 22 and collecting nonperishable items for the food bank.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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