ShareThis Page

Westmoreland County Food Bank short 1,700 turkeys for holiday season

| Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, 11:06 p.m.

The head of the Westmoreland County Food Bank is appealing for donations of money and turkeys to make up for shortfalls during the upcoming holiday season.

“Traditionally, this is our best fundraising time,” said Kris Douglas, chief executive officer of the food bank. “Right now, we're not seeing those donations coming in.”

Douglas said Monday the group needs about 1,700 turkeys to meet the number they promised to give out for the holiday season.

The situation worsened when officials learned they will receive only two trailers of turkeys this year from a federal program. They had been expecting four, Douglas said.

At the same time, individual donations are down, store donations of turkeys have declined, and government funding has decreased, he said.

“The donations have flat-lined this year, so it's not only the turkeys, but the donations as well,” Douglas said.

Donations from individuals and foundations make up about 60 percent of the group's operating budget, but donations are behind about $75,000, Douglas said.

A harsh 2013-14 winter took a toll on the group's finances as well as vehicle expenses that were double the $25,000 budgeted, Douglas said.

Douglas said food bank officials hope that the time of year known as a season of giving will bring help their way.

“It's really this time of year when people seem to be more generous,” he said.

Lisa Scales, chief executive officer of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, said she has an ample number of turkeys but has seen increased demand for services.

“We had been serving 110,000 people a month. This past summer, it jumped up to 125,000,” she said.

The 2014 Hunger in America study pointed out other needs among those receiving aid from food assistance groups, Scales said.

Many people are picking between paying for food and other crucial expenses, according to the study.

People frequently opt for unhealthy foods rather than healthier alternatives because the unhealthy foods often are cheaper, according to the study.

In Westmoreland County, one in seven people, or 45,000, turn to food pantries or meal services to feed themselves and their families, the hunger study showed.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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.