The Westmoreland Food Bank works to ensure that families facing struggles have a partner willing to lend a helping hand. The Westmoreland Food Bank distributed over 6 million pounds of food in 2020 to families, children, senior citizens and veterans–many of whom hadnever sought assistance before. The Food Bank’s vision to end hunger is approached with programs that address food insecurity in every population in the county. Produce for families, backpacks for children, home delivery for seniors, and a helping hand for veterans—each of these specialty programs provide not only food, but also hope. A network of partnersand Food Bank volunteers across the county provide food to families facing food insecurity, who are choosing between necessities to make ends meet.
The Westmoreland Food Bank food pantries provide boxes of pantry staples and fresh produce to help households stretch their grocery budgets. The organization also provides meal supplies to local homeless shelters and community meal programs. Over 4,000 Westmoreland County children benefited from child hunger programs in 2020—the Weekend Backpack program during the school year, and the Summer Food Program that provides meals in the months that school isn’t in session. Veterans and military personnel are invited to receive food at Military Share events and over 1,400 senior citizens benefit through the PA Senior Food Box program every month. Mobile Grab and Go Fresh Express Distributions occur weekly to ensure that perishable rescued food reaches homes instead of landfills.
Neighbors who lost their incomes and livelihoods last year were already sacrificing and struggling to keep children, seniors, and families fed on a tight budget. Now, rising food costs are stretching their dollar even thinner, causing more hunger and uncertainty ahead of another challenging holiday season. As food, fuel, and consumer prices rise across the nation, the Food Bank continues to be available to those who find themselves with empty cupboards and extra days before the next paycheck arrives.
When the pandemic caused a drastic increase in demand for services, the community ralliedto support the Food Bank and its programs, and in doing so, the organization was able to meet the need, and ensure that no one who needed services and assistance was turned away. The Westmoreland Food Bank continues to appreciate the support shown, both past and present, as it works to ensure that no one faces hunger in Westmoreland County. For people throughout Westmoreland County, the Westmoreland Food Bank ensures that those in need receive more of what they need.
To donate to the Food Bank, visit westmorelandfoodbank.org.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY THE WESTMORELAND COUNTY FOOD BANK