Monthly Archives: March 2019

Advocacy Team Attends Anti-Hunger Policy Conference

In February, three members of Chester County Food Bank’s Advocacy Team attended the Anti-Hunger Policy Conference (AHPC) in Washington, DC. The yearly AHPC conference is a joint effort of the Food Research Action Center and Feeding America.

The conference speakers included Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware and the Honorable Stephen K. Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. Both implored attendees to think beyond the box, harness the power of our voices, and to remain vigilant about local and national legislation.

The conference itself was a rousing combination of workshops focusing on the various programs, community efforts, national initiatives and state and federal legislation which aim to address food insecurity. Topics included strategies to address child nutrition, hunger on college campuses and engaging seniors in food assistance programs.

In addition to the important work of directly connecting people to food, the root causes and effects of poverty were the main focus of the conference. This included ways to engage low-income citizens in voting, connecting the health care community with effective strategies to address food insecurity in their patients, understanding how combating racism and discrimination is essential in the fight against food insecurity, and much more.

On the last day of the conference, attendees spent a day on Capitol Hill, meeting with their local legislators. For the CCFB Advocacy Team, this included personal meetings with Senator Bob Casey, Senator Pat Toomey and Representative Chrissy Houlahan. They were all invited to spend some time with CCFB, learning more about our work so that they can carry that first-hand knowledge with them, but also to support anti-hunger legislation that will

After spending a day on “The Hill” touring the various legislative buildings and even viewing House and Senate floor debates from the public gallery, our resolve was strengthened. Advocating not only for our work, but for the community we serve, is our responsibility and our right. Our voices need to be heard, and if we speak together they will be heard.

We will continue our work and continue our efforts to address the root causes of poverty innovatively and equitably. If you’d like to join CCFB’s advocacy efforts and learn about issues that have a direct effect on you and your food insecure neighbors in Chester County, click here to receive updates and action alerts!

 

Chester County Food Bank’s Sustained Commitment to Nutrition

When it comes to food and dietary choices, many of us have learned that it’s more about quality than quantity. But for many of our neighbors in Chester County, it’s really about both. Quantity — that is, simply enough food on the table, day after day — is the primary struggle for many families and individuals facing food insecurity. When meals are unpredictable or scarce, quality often isn’t even a luxury that can be factored into the equation.

Here at the Chester County Food Bank, we’re aiming to change that. No matter where people are getting their food from, we believe they shouldn’t have to sacrifice nutrition and quality when it comes to the food they’re putting into their bodies.

For many years, we haven’t accepted soda and other sweetened beverages or candy donations in large quantities, and have also worked nonstop to find innovative ways to provide fresh food to our clients via our Fresh2You Mobile Market, the Fresh2You Fruit & Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) program, Taste It! and Eat Fresh educational platforms, Raised Bed Garden Program and more.


“There is a ton of scientific research and proof that diet-related diseases disproportionately affect people in economically challenged areas,” Denise Sheehan, Director of Strategic Initiatives explained. “Our goal at the Food Bank is to not add to that problem, and to expand access to what people on a limited income can afford.”

During our recently conducted community food security assessment, we gathered feedback from over 1,000 of our food pantry members through surveys and focus groups. We received an overwhelming response that pantry members are concerned about their health and the most important foods when coming to the pantry are fresh produce, quality protein and healthy dairy items. So over the course of the next few years, our goal is to provide more of these items, which can often be higher in price, and so out of reach for many people. Then, with those items taken care of, our clients can readjust their food budgets and have more to spend on items of their choosing to fill in around what we provide.

“For instance,” Sheehan said, “we’re hopefully going to distribute less of the highly processed canned items which are typically loaded with high fructose corn syrup added sugar and sodium and replace them with the simple ingredients and recipes.”

To start, CCFB is going to monitor the foods that we purchase with donated dollars and government funds more closely to be sure they’re as nutritionally impactful as possible while also meeting our clients’ expressed needs. Of course, we still want to provide like cereals (low in added sugar), fruit in juice, and canned proteins like tuna, chicken and beans, but are going to pass by options that include high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat) and excessive added sugars. (As far as food drives and donations are concerned, we are still happy to receive items from our most wanted food items list)


We’re excited to embark on this next step of our journey to help fight hunger and food insecurity in Chester County. If you have any questions about our commitment to nutrition, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask!

Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate food, funds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or requesting a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Emily Kovach

Photos: Chester County Food Bank

 

Delphi Wealth Management Presents $25,000 Donation to Food Bank

Delphi Wealth Management Group of West Chester presented the Chester County Food Bank with a $25,000 donation on Friday, March 1, 2019, to help sustain the Food Bank’s recently launched FRESHstart KitchenTM culinary workforce development program.

Delphi partners Kevin McDermott and John Kane presented the donation to Ranney Moran, Director of Culinary Programs along with students currently enrolled in the program. After presenting the donation, the Delphi Team volunteered at the Food Bank helping to sort and organize donated food.

FRESHstart Kitchen hosted its inaugural class in September 2018 at the Chester County Food Bank’s Exton headquarters. FRESH, an acronym for Focusing Resources on Employment, Self-Sufficiency and Health, was specifically designed to assist individuals with limited work experience, barriers to employment and significant personal challenges – including substance abuse and criminal records. The workforce development program will provide life skills to help address distinctive and significant challenges entering or re-entering the workforce.

“Support like this from Delphi Wealthy Management Group signifies a deep understanding of the challenges our neighbors face when seeking sustainable employment in Chester County,” said Food Bank Executive Director Larry Welsch. “We are grateful for this generous donation,” continued Ranney Moran, “and thanks to Delphi we anticipate life changing outcomes for our FRESHstart Kitchen students.

Delphi is a member of broker dealer Lincoln Financial Group, the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates, a prominent financial services company dedicated to helping clients build, preserve and protect wealth. This affiliation helps provide depth, stability and significant resources to clients.