May is a time at our Food Bank where the atmosphere is anything but laid back. Some businesses and non-profits have times throughout the year where it is less busy than others. I have not noticed that in a long time in the food-banking world! As June is fast approaching our team members are very busy preparing for new client certifications, Summer Food Service Program kick off, Backpack wrap up, and so much more. We also have begun planning for Hunger Action Month, which is in September!
This is also a time when we reach out to our Legislators and discuss the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS). As a friend of the Westmoreland County Food Bank who cares deeply about the problem of hunger in our community, I encourage you to send an email to your State Senators and Representatives today! We are asking for these programs to be funded at the following levels:
* $21 million for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP)
* $3 million for the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS).
SFPP funding enables Pennsylvania's private charitable food distribution network to provide nutritionally balanced food packages to low-income families, children, seniors, and others hungry and threatened by hunger. PASS funding provides the opportunity for Pennsylvania's farmers and food producers to collaborate with the charitable food providers to the benefit of both our most vulnerable citizens and Pennsylvania agriculture. A relatively modest investment of Commonwealth resources in these programs would make a real difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians challenged by hunger.
The process to send this email is very simple, please click here and fill in the blanks. The letter (which is shown when you click on the link) will be sent to your Legislator and you can even add a personal message encouraging them to support this worthwhile program. We also encourage you to share your story with them if you have ever found yourself in need of these programs to feed your family.
Your support for what we do and the people we serve is truly appreciated, not only by our team here at the Westmoreland County Food Bank, but families all over the Commonwealth who struggle with food insecurity on a daily basis. Thank you!
We Couldn't Do It Without You
We would love to be able to list EVERYTHING wonderful that our community does for us, there just isn't enough room for it all!
Thank you to the following groups who recently donated $200 or more:
Westmoreland County Food Bank's Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon was held on May 2 at our Delmont warehouse. Director of Volunteers & Food Drives, Louise Wilhelm, affirmed, "whereas, all of our volunteers are priceless, we take the time to recognize a stand out individual and group that have shown exemplary service to our neighbors in need." This year's honorees include Robbyn Slavin of Greensburg as Volunteer of the Year and Comcast as Volunteer Group of the Year.
Robbyn Slavin wears many hats; she is the volunteer coordinator, record keeper and civil rights trainer for the Charter Oak United Methodist Food Pantry. For five plus years, she has volunteered for the food pantry, making everyone feel welcomed, with a smile on her face. Betsy Hunt, Pantry Coordinator, said "Robbyn is always punctual with reports and willing to learn and serve. She has shown remarkable strength after losing her home to a fire last year." It is not unusual to have her whole family supporting the food pantry with whatever is needed. She and her husband Ron are both veterans and they have three children.
Comcast gives back to the communities they serve and consider it a core value of their company's culture. Each year, they celebrate this commitment coast to coast and around the world through Comcast Cares Day. Comcast Cares Day began in 2001. Since then they have engaged one million volunteers to "Make Change Happen" in hundreds of communities. Locally, the Keystone Regional Comcast Cares employees, families and friends have been coming to the Westmoreland County Food Bank for the past three years to pack over 1,300 CSFP Senior Food Boxes with around 80 volunteers. Matching funds donated to date are over $6,000. Comcast has been a Hunger Action Month sponsor over the years and now a Volunteer Appreciation Lunch sponsor. Cheryl McCabe has been a key partner in facilitating the Comcast Cares Day each year. She engages Comcast employees to participate and works very closely with WCFB to determine the best plan of action. Lloyd Crago, Operations Manager from Comcast, joined Cheryl in accepting the award.
Congratulations to all our volunteers for sharing their time and talents to help their neighbors in need!
We also thank the following sponsors for their generosity:
Westmoreland County Food Bank appreciates all the hard work done by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) during the 27th Annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive held on May 11 across the nation. We recognize that it is not easy for them to deliver mail and collect food at the same time. Letter Carriers, along with retirees, friends, family and community volunteers collected and transported food from mailboxes to help local food banks provide nutritional food to those who are food insecure. The food donated helps food banks, such as ours, to get through the summer months. Families with children are stretched thin during the summer months to feed their children, when schools no longer provide them with breakfast and lunch feeding programs. The NALC brings the community together to address this gap. Our gratitude also goes out to those in the community who donated. We have already received over 68,500 pounds during this drive, which will go a long way to helping our neighbors. Kudos to all involved!
Wear Your Red Nose Thursday
Red Nose Day is a campaign to end child poverty, one nose at a time. Through the power of entertainment, Red Nose Day raises money and awareness to help keep children in need safe, healthy and educated in America and around the world.
Red Nose Day returns on Thursday, May 23, when millions of Americans, celebrities and businesses will come together wearing their Red Noses (sold exclusively at Walgreens) to fundraise, donate and tune in for a special night of programming on NBC.
In its first four years, Red Nose Day has raised nearly $150 million and positively impacted the lives of over 16 million children. Locally, Red Nose Day supports our Backpack Program.
They will be distributing paper lunch bags that attendees can fill with children's activities. When you bring a bag to the event, you will receive a free beer from the Rotary. In lieu of a bag, you can also give a monetary donation of $5 or more. Not only will they be accepting donations at the event, but also leading up to the event, in case someone would like to donate but cannot make it.
John Bevilacqua of Avonmore was recognized for his dedication as a volunteer at St. Ambrose food pantry for the last 10 years. He oversees checking the list of food received. "He continues to be one of the most valuable volunteers to our pantry. He is a true champion, a hard worker, and a blessing from God," stated Colleen Williams. Thank you for all your hard work, John.
We thank the hardworking employees from Dormont in Export, who gave back to the community by sorting and repacking our Stamp Out Hunger food drive donations at our Delmont warehouse on May 17. Approximately 65,000 pounds of food was processed by 67 employees.
Adult and student volunteers pack and deliver food to the residents of Jeannette Manor. Every spring they celebrate with a luncheon and acknowledge the Penn Trafford Seniors from the CAP Program that are going to graduate. Most of them have helped with the distributions each month since they entered high school. Thank you all so much and good luck in your future endeavours!
CSFP/Senior Food Box Packing
Once a month over 1,300 boxes are pre-packed for local seniors in need.
Volunteers, age 14 or older, are needed to help pack senior boxes on an assembly line at our Delmont warehouse from 9-11:30 AM.