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Monthly Archives: March 2022

CCFB Receives Gift from the Michael & Nancy Pia Foundation Fund to Support Fresh Food Programs

Chester County Food Bank is pleased to announce a donation from the Michael & Nancy Pia Foundation Fund through the Chester County Community Foundation. The funds will be used to improve access to affordable, healthy, local foods through the Chester County Food Bank’s Fresh2You Mobile Market.

 

The generous monetary donation will be used to purchase a customized refrigerated market-style cargo truck. After serving our communities for six seasons, the first Fresh2You truck no longer has the capacity to visit markets on a regular basis. Historically, Fresh2You has operated with two vehicles. The new vehicle will enable CCFB to provide a market at two locations simultaneously with the goal to increase the number of Fresh2You participants by expanding our number of markets.

“Michael and Nancy are well known for their charitable giving in the community, and their focus on children and families experiencing homelessness and food insecurity,” said Andrea Youndt, CEO of the Chester County Food Bank. “We are so very grateful for their investment in the Chester County Food Bank in support of our mission to ensure access to healthy food.”

The Fresh2You Mobile Market travels throughout Chester County providing fresh foods from local farmers paired with education on healthy cooking to communities with limited food access. The “farm stand on wheels” was established in 2015 and serves over 2,500 people each year. To make fresh local food accessible to all, Fresh2You accepts all forms of payment including SNAP (food stamps) and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks. Purchases made with SNAP or FMNP are matched with CCFB’s Veggie Bucks, a form of currency that can be used on future purchases of fruits and vegetables. There are additional financial incentives including a senior and veteran discount. Fresh2You Mobile Market provides about 60,000 pounds of food each season with over 50 varieties of produce.

“We are delighted to be a part of this collaborative partnership that provides such a valuable resource to our community,” said Nancy Pia. “We are inspired by the work of the Chester County Food Bank to help alleviate food insecurity, and we’re proud to help them deliver healthy food (and hope) to our neighbors.”

Fresh2You also partners with eight health clinics to provide Fruit and Vegetable Prescriptions (FVRx) to individuals screening positive for food insecurity by their healthcare providers. Participants can redeem their ‘prescription’ at any Fresh2You market location and shop for foods that meet their personal and cultural preferences.

 

About Michael & Nancy Pia
Michael Pia has worked his entire career in the family’s mushroom farming business, South Mill Champs, which has grown to be the third-largest mushroom producer in North America. Nancy is an educator, having taught in both local and inner-city schools. She is also an artist and published writer. In 2002, the Pias established the Michael and Nancy Pia Foundation to formalize their charitable giving. The Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children and supports organizations and programs focused on those areas. In 2018, the Pias established the Michael & Nancy Pia Foundation Fund through the Chester County Community Foundation to expand the reach of their charitable giving. The Fund is focused on specific areas relating to children and families: homelessness, poverty, and hunger; health and mental well-being; and education.

 

The Michael and Nancy Pia Fund is a fund of the Chester County Community Foundation.  A copy of the Chester County Community Foundation’s official registration and financial information may be obtained by calling the PA Dept. of State at 1-800-732-0999 (toll free in PA).  Registration does not imply endorsement.  EIN 23-2773822.

CCFB Receives $50,000 from QVC to Support Programs for Seniors

Chester County Food Bank is pleased to announce a $50,000 donation from QVC. The funds will be used to provide food to older adults, age 60 and over, through the Chester County Food Bank’s Grocery Box Program.

Seniors who are food insecure — which means they have insufficient or unreliable access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy, active life — are at a greater risk for the detrimental health effects hunger can cause. In fact, families that include a member over 50 are far more likely to also include someone with high blood pressure and diabetes — conditions that can be mitigated by healthy food.

“QVC continues to be a great partner in fighting hunger throughout Chester County,” said Andrea Youndt, CEO of the Chester County Food Bank. “The pandemic has created an extraordinary amount of burden for our most vulnerable populations and this generous grant will help us continue to provide nutritious food to seniors in need across the county.”

The Grocery Box provides older adults with monthly boxes filled with low-sugar and low-sodium groceries such as grains, canned vegetables and fruits, and canned meats. The boxes also include recipes and information about other resources for at-risk seniors. The goal is to include items that are simple to cook and can be used in multiple different recipes to cater to seniors’ needs. Food for the Grocery Boxes is sourced by CCFB and packed by staff and volunteers. The packed boxes are then delivered to designated agency partners who run senior-focused programs within the food bank’s community agency network.

 

“As a corporate neighbor, QVC is committed to supporting efforts that create positive change for the communities where we live and work,” said Suzanne Quigley, Director of Global Corporate Responsibility for Qurate Retail Group, home to QVC. “QVC has supported the Chester County Food Bank through various initiatives including corporate giving, food donations, and employee volunteerism. By fostering an even stronger connection with the Food Bank through our support of programs for older adults, we hope to further their efforts in addressing food insecurity in the Chester County region.”

 

Learn more about the Chester County Food Bank? You can also donate food, funds, and time to help us achieve our mission.  Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 150 food cupboards, meal sites, and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize the community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Peeling the Onion: The 411 on the Chester County Food Bank

Since its inception in 2009, the Chester County Food Bank has been on a dedicated vision for a food secure Chester County, but do you know how we do it, what we promote or how the education that we provide benefits the community?

There are many life-changing layers of this onion to peel. CCFB does so much more than collect canned goods, sort fresh produce, and raise awareness of the need to help over 50,000 people. Take a look at the snapshot below.

The Who

A dedicated board of directors and a tireless staff work together with enthusiastic volunteers to come up with ways to benefit local communities through:

  • Distribution of fresh food and nonperishable items throughout the county through our network of hunger relief organizations and programs
  • Education & Wellness programs to educate on the benefits of food access, healthy food preparation, and teaching healthy cooking habits
  • Providing the means to organize and promote successful food drives and virtual fundraisers with schools, businesses, organizations, and individuals
  • Providing maps and lists of food cupboards, soup kitchens, and other hot meal sites for those in need and those who wish to help

The How

It takes a tremendous amount of people-power to bring about positive change in Chester County. Take a look at just a few examples of how the Food Bank makes an impact.

Food Drives and Virtual Fundraisers: Schools, corporations, and personal food drives are a valuable resource to acquire much-needed nonperishable items to stock the shelves of the distribution center.

Gardens: a network of nearly 100 garden sites provide fresh produce to local food cupboards from May through November.

Farms: Partnerships with local farms like Pete’s Produce Farm and Springton Manor Farm are essential in providing fresh produce to the Food Bank for distribution.

Commercial Kitchen: This first stop is where food is cleaned, sorted, and packaged by a core team of hard-working volunteers.

Distribution: The Food Bank operates from its sole facility in Exton, where food arrives from local farms, corporations, individuals and government programs to be prepped for over 160 cupboards, pantries and partners that are located throughout Chester County.

Food Sourcing: The Chester County Food Bank uses its financial resources to purchase perishable and nonperishable food for those in need throughout the year.

Education: The Food Bank teaches the community about the importance of healthy eating through education & wellness programs, recipes, cooking classes and the Fresh2You Mobile Market.

The Why

  • Be informed. Did you know that a single parent working to sustain a minimum wage job would need to work 80 hours per week to sustainably live in this area? Are you aware that 57% of food insecure households in Chester County, meaning that they lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food – are ineligible for government food assistance because their income is too high?
  • Donate. It’s no surprise that it takes time and money to help our neighbors. Every little bit helps. Donate today!

As you can see, there are many layers of the Chester County Food Bank. Fortunately, because of neighbors like you, the Food Bank can continue to make a difference in our community by providing assistance for individuals and families in need. Want to learn more? Check out the Food Bank’s website or “like” the Food Bank on Facebook or “follow” on Instagram for community facts, program highlights, and donation and volunteer opportunities.

The Chester County Food Bank is located at 650 Pennsylvania Dr. in Exton; phone: 610-873-6000.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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.  We listen to what clients are requesting at the pantries. Seniors like low sodium items for health reasons. Families ask for healthier snacks for their kids.  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 distributed 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.

“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,” said Roberta Cosentino, Director of Community Food Access & Education Programs.

Our community food security assessment 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. 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, we want 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 items with simple ingredients and recipes that are for eating every day.

CCFB continues 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 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 insecurity and go beyond hunger 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

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.