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Author Archives: Anne Shuniak

In time for the holidays, Comcast NBCUniversal delivers $40,000 to CCFB, a part of $400,000 in Donations to Greater Philly Food Banks

Funding for 10 Local Nonprofits Will Support Food Purchasing, Preparation, and Delivery

Comcast NBCUniversal is making $400,000 in contributions to 10 local organizations in its hometown of Philadelphia to support efforts to fight food insecurity during another challenging holiday season. For the second year in a row, the company’s headquarters and regional teams are combining resources as COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on the local community. Food insecurity is particularly acute for the elderly, low-income families, the working poor, those with chronic illnesses, and people experiencing homelessness. In 2020, more than 38 million people in the United States experienced hunger, and half of American families say they fear another hungry holiday season.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve worked with our nonprofit partners and local elected officials to understand and respond to the immediate needs of our community members, especially around our hometown of Philadelphia,” said Bret Perkins, Senior Vice President, External and Government Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal. “This is another way we’re showing up for our city and its residents to provide extra support for the tireless work of our community partners.”

The 10 local organizations receiving $40,000 each from Comcast NBCUniversal include: Coalition Against Hunger, FulFill, MANNA, Philabundance, Share Food Program, The Bucks County Opportunity Council, The Chester County Food Bank, The Food Bank of South Jersey, The Food Bank of Delaware and The Food Trust. The funding will support operational measures, including food purchasing, prepping and packaging, and delivery.

“We are grateful for Comcast’s commitment to their community,” said Andrea Youndt, CEO, Chester County Food Bank. “With rising food costs, it is imperative to have strong corporate partners that support our mission especially during the holiday season.”

“Comcast has long been an advocate of our work, and we are so grateful for both the organizational and personnel support we receive – most recently in the form of this impactful donation at a time when food costs are incredibly high,” said Sue Daugherty, CEO, MANNA. “These funds will go a long way to help those with acute illnesses use nourishment to heal and alleviate cost burdens for both our organization and the clients we serve.”

“We are grateful for Comcast’s growing investment in our work, and we remain so appreciative to have them as a corporate citizen in here Philadelphia,” said Loree D. Jones, CEO, Philabundance. “This type of gift is truly incredible and made even more special as we work to reach our vulnerable neighbors during the holiday season.”

“This is an enormously generous gift, and we really appreciate all of Comcast’s continued support of our work,” said George Matysik, Executive Director, Share Food Program. “We can’t stress how important this type of direct support is, especially as we continue our swift response to urgent and unforeseen food needs of our neighbors.”

This is the second consecutive year Comcast has made a direct donation to local food banks in greater Philadelphia. In addition to these direct funds, the company has worked with its network of partners to address issues caused or exacerbated by the pandemic, resulting in a number of new or expanded programs including PHLConnectED, the launch and installation of more than 100 regional Lift Zones, support of more than 600 diverse local small business owners through Comcast RISE, and eligibility expansion of Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program, to federal Pell Grant recipients. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and his wife Aileen also donated $5 million at the start of the pandemic to fund almost half of the total cost to purchase laptop computers for every student in the Philadelphia School District to be able to engage in remote learning.

While the company has primarily focused its pandemic responses on addressing digital equity through Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to reach 50 million people with the tools, resources, and skills needed to succeed in a digital world, it knows that the digital divide is a complex and multifaceted issue, compounded by the effects of poverty, such as food insecurity. The donation announced today is another way the company is utilizing short- and long-term investments to help address deep, societal barriers that prevent broadband adoption.

Help Feed Our Neighbors in Need

It will take years for families, seniors, and veterans to recover from the significant and lasting impact of the pandemic.

We have risen to the challenges with innovative solutions to fulfill our mission to ensure access to real, healthy food. Moving forward our concern is having the resources to meet the needs once food insecurity is out of the public spotlight.

Your support is vital for us to:

  • Meet the demand for real, healthy food
  • Sustain growth of education & wellness programs
  • Build capacity within our network of 160+ hunger-relief partners
  • Develop long term solutions for addressing the root causes of food insecurity

Now, more than ever, we call on your compassion to invest in our community to help build a food secure Chester County. Give Today!

Join our Beyond Hunger 365 community of monthly donors here
Click here if you would to make a tribute gift.

Join our Beyond Hunger 365 community of monthly donors here.

Bentley Systems Announces a $150,000 Matching Grant Challenge to Support Chester County Food Bank

Chester County Food Bank announced today a Sustaining Community $150,000 Grant Challenge from Bentley Systems. The grant will match dollar-for-dollar all contributions donated November 1, 2021, through the end of the year, up to $150,000. The grant and Sustaining Community gift challenge will support CCFB’s mission to ensure access to real, healthy food for people in Chester County.

Bentley Systems, with global headquarters in Exton, PA, is the leading company dedicated to providing comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure.

This match grant challenge is a call to action for the Chester County community to support our neighbors – the tens of thousands of families, children, seniors, veterans, and individuals struggling to put food on the table. Once the matching challenge is met, these funds will allow Chester County Food Bank to provide over 140,000 healthy meals to those in need at a time when demand created by the pandemic and the impact of Hurricane Ida has stretched the organization’s resources to the limit.

“Our impact has never been greater, and it is the direct result of the generosity of donors like Bentley Systems,” said Andrea Youndt, CEO of the Chester County Food Bank. “This generous matching grant will help sustain a high volume and variety of real, healthy food for our network of community partners and accommodate the growth of our education and wellness programs. On behalf of the Chester County Food Bank and all those we serve, thank you. This will have a huge impact in going beyond hunger.”

“Chester County Food Bank’s commitment to fighting hunger is more relevant than ever during these challenging times for our community,” Greg S. Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems said. “Guided by our mission at Bentley, “advancing both the global economy and the environment for improved quality of life,” we want to support Chester County Food Bank’s efforts to ensure access to healthy food and nourish those struggling with food insecurity and continue to lead our community in the fight against hunger. The effects of COVID-19 and economic impacts are creating even stronger pressures on those already living on the margins of being food insecure. It will require all of Chester County to step up and join our support to make sure everyone has access to healthy meals. This matching gift commitment seeks to double the value of every dollar raised through all donations.”

To join the Sustaining Community $150,000 Grant Challenge visit https://chestercountyfoodbank.fenly.org/drive/bentleymatchchallenge21.

 

Free Webinar: Charitable Giving Strategies for Tax Year 2021

Financial advisors increasingly offer charitable planning as a way to enhance their value to clients by helping them incorporate philanthropy into their overall financial planning. As we approach the giving season, we want to offer four key ways advisors can help clients increase their giving power at a time when philanthropy has never been more important.

 

Charitable Giving Strategies for Tax Year 2021 & Beyond
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
11:00 am via ZOOM
(link will be sent the week of the event)
FREE to attend. Please RSVP HERE by Tuesday, November 16.

 

Sponsored by Vista.Today

 

Presented By Joseph A. Bellinghieri CPA, Esquire of MacElree Harvey

Topics include:
► Four “Cares Act” Planning Strategies for 2021
► Qualified Charitable Deductions
► Donor Advised Funds

Four Ways to Make A Difference Today

Each year on the fourth Saturday of October, Make A Difference Day, we reflect on ways that each of us – the collective “you” and the collective “we”, together – can affect positive change in our communities. When so many BIG issues feel out of our immediate control as they play out on the global and national stages, it can be easy to forget for a moment that WE have the power to make meaningful changes right here in our own communities. In fact, those little positive changes that we can all influence together just might be even more impactful in our day-to-day lives!

This year Make a Difference Day is October 23 and we’d like to share with you four powerful ways that you can Make A Difference right here in Chester County (and beyond!).

 

FIND YOUR PASSION, SUPPORT A CAUSE. While we happen to think that food insecurity is a pretty important issue (OK we’re biased!), we’re thrilled to be in great company here in Chester County with a number of wonderful organizations who work to support all sorts of causes. It’s easy to be a helper in your community when you can identify a passion or interest and find a way to donate some of your time to it. Whether your passion is helping to address food insecurity, homelessness, animal cruelty, domestic violence, drug abuse, mental health, water quality, historic preservation, or so much more – there’s a place for you to help here in Chester County! Become an advocate or a volunteer and you’ll be Making A Difference!

Here are some impactful ways to support the Chester County Food Bank right now:

 

EAT LOCAL. Take it a step further and make an effort to source more of your diet locally – it’s easier than you might think! We are so fortunate here in Chester County to be surrounded by rich soil, clean waterways, and a robust agricultural history (still in the making!). Still, farms and farmland are on the decline in Chester County, and having support from local consumers is key in making sure that we don’t lose this important industry. The Chester County Food Bank is proud that 39% of the fresh food we distribute (which is half of our total 3.5 million pound food distribution) is Pennsylvania grown.

Here are some ways that you can support our local farmers and the businesses who support them:

 

SHOP LOCAL. Supporting local businesses is one of the most impactful ways to invest in our communities and in our neighbors who live, work, and play alongside us. As consumers, we can create a positive impact by directing our dollars to the people, places, goods, or services that help to make our communities better.

With the holiday season upon us, consider checking out some of our local vendors:

 

 

GET OUT THE VOTE. Local elections can be even more important than national elections when it comes to issues that impact our day-to-day lives. Local legislators are elected to act as our ground-level advocates and should represent our collective voice at the municipal, state, and federal levels. Make sure that you research candidates early and use your power as a registered voter to elect legislators who will fight for the issues that you care about.

Chester County Municipal General Elections are coming up on Tuesday, November 2nd. The voter registration window has closed, but you can request a mail-in or absentee ballot until October 26th. We’ve included some helpful information below – tell your friends, tell your neighbors, to get out the vote!

 

How will YOU Make A Difference? Let us know! #makeadifferenceChesco

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

 

Lauren Van Dyk, Volunteer Manager | Chester County Food Bank

Let’s Not Bring Hunger to School

Give Today

With your gift, the Chester County Food Bank can work to ensure access to real, healthy food to the 1 in 10 people in Chester County that struggle to put food on the table.

While more students may be returning to in-person classes, this school year will likely continue to look different than “normal”. Unfortunately, one constant is that thousands of school-age students, kindergarten through college, struggle to focus because they are hungry.

In a county of wealth, there are nearly 18,000 school-age children that may go to school hungry in Chester County.

 

CCFB’s FRESHstart Kitchen Designated a ‘Restaurant Ready Partner’ of the National Restaurant Assoc.

The Chester County Food Bank, courtesy of its FRESHstart Kitchen culinary workforce development program, has been named a Restaurant Ready Partner of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The designation enables FRESHstart Kitchen students to get certified in additional core competencies to further prepare them for opportunities and sustainable employment in the foodservice industry.

Since 2009, the Chester County Food Bank has been the central hunger relief organization in Chester County addressing food insecurity by mobilizing the community to ensure access to real, healthy food. In 2018, as part of its strategic plan, the organization launched FRESHstart Kitchen to educate and prepare under or unemployed people in the community who show interest in food industry careers.

An acronym for “Focusing Resources on Employment, Self-Sufficiency, and Health,” FRESHstart Kitchen is specifically designed to assist individuals with barriers to employment gain life skills to help address the challenges of entering or reentering the workforce. The FRESHstart Kitchen is a fully certified production kitchen, located within the Food Bank’s headquarters in Exton.

“It’s 12 weeks of culinary training, and during those weeks, it is an opportunity for students to reflect on where they have been, where they are currently, and where they want to be,” said Amy Rossman, the Food Bank’s Workforce Development Manager. Rossman looks for potential students who have a goal of working in the hospitality and foodservice industry and guides them through the FRESHstart Kitchen application and interview process. She is also the facilitator for the self-empowerment and work-readiness segments of the program.

 

As part of the program, FRESHstart Kitchen staff and students operate a café for a simulated restaurant environment designed to provide students a hands-on learning experience while also showcasing their culinary and service talents. Students will also complete an internship in the food industry, and many of them are offered positions after their internships.

The Restaurant Ready Partner program’s goals align well with what the FRESHstart Kitchen has been doing all along: putting underserved people on a path to employment and independence and establishing the restaurant industry as a suitable place for first jobs, career development, and advancement.

“The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation was looking for community-based partners to be able to facilitate the Restaurant Ready curriculum, which is evidence-based and created by people who work in the restaurant industry,” said Rossman, who initiated the application process. “Their curriculum teaches six competencies found to be the most important for students to be able to become independent and sustainable in the restaurant industry.”

The six competencies include personal responsibility, communication, attitude, learning, customer service, and industry-specific skills such as culinary knowledge, food safety, and order and payment.

“The Restaurant Ready program means we are nationally recognized as a partner,” said Rossman. “The curriculum affords us an opportunity to give an added credential to the students for those six competencies, which is very important to us, and those in the industry will recognize that our students are restaurant-ready.”

An additional requirement for programs to receive the Restaurant Ready designation is for them to offer “wrap-around” services to their students once they graduate, and thus help eliminate any barriers to a successful career in the food industry. That service is something FRESHstart Kitchen is already doing, as it stays connected with students for two years after they graduate and begin working.

“We want to advocate for our students and see them succeed,” said Rossman. “We feel very grateful to be part of the journey that each of the students is on and for them to recognize that we are here to support them on that path.”

Learn more about FRESHstart Kitchen and how to support the Chester County Food Bank.

 

Contributed by Chris Cooper of Vista.Today

Gardening for Beginners Workshop

A gardening class for everyone!  ¡Una clase de jardinería para todos! (Desplácese debajo de la foto de zanahoria para español)

 

Gardeners of all (or no prior) experience are welcome. All you need is a desire to get growing and to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor!

Whether you are curious about gardening, want to go beyond a container garden, or have harvested through many seasons – this class provides the foundational skills and the hands-on practice you need to get growing. The two-hour class will offer the basics of how to create a garden from preparing the soil, choosing seeds and seedlings, and managing weeds and pests.

All participants will receive fall seedlings to take home to #GetGrowingChesterCounty.

Gardening for Beginners – English Session
Monday, August 23, 2021
5:30-7:30pm
at the Community Garden at Anson B. Nixon Park (405 N. Walnut Rd., Kennett Square)

Register here by August 19 for the English Session
Reach out to Klielle at klielle@chestercountyfoodbank.org with any questions

 

Los jardineros con toda la experiencia (o sin experiencia previa) son bienvenidos. ¡Todo lo que necesita es el deseo de crecer y disfrutar de las frutas (y verduras) de su trabajo! Ya sea que sienta curiosidad por la jardinería, quiera ir más allá de un jardín en macetas o haya cosechado durante muchas temporadas, esta clase proporciona las habilidades fundamentales y la práctica práctica que necesita para crecer. La clase de dos horas ofrecerá los conceptos básicos de cómo crear un jardín desde la preparación del suelo, la selección de semillas y plántulas y el manejo de malezas y plagas. Todos los participantes recibirán plántulas de otoño para llevar a casa en #GetGrowingChesterCounty.

Jardinería para Principiantes
miércoles 18 de agosto
8:00-10:00 de la mañana

El jardín comunitario en Anson B. Nixon Park (405 N Walnut Rd, Kennett Square)
Regístrese aquí antes del lunes 16 de agosto si planea asistir.
¿Preguntas? Contacta con Ryan: rmccaughan@chestercountyfoodbank.org

 

County Commissioners Honor Former Senator Dinniman with Garden Dedication

The Chester County Commissioners recognized retired Senator Andrew Dinniman on June 22, 2021, for his leadership in addressing hunger in the county, and establishing the Chester County Gleaning Program, a forerunner to the Chester County Food Bank’s Farming and Garden Education Programs.

Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline officially dedicated the garden at the County’s Springton Manor Farm as the Senator Andrew Dinniman Garden.  Senator Dinniman retired from public office at the end of 2020 after nearly 30 years as an elected official, serving as a Chester County Commissioner and then as State Senator.

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Commissioners, Chair Marian Moskowitz said, “When Senator Dinniman announced his plans to retire, we began to think of a way that we could honor his many years of public service, and especially his efforts to address hunger in Chester County.

“The successful Gleaning Program that Andy developed 25 years ago, with a network of volunteers, quickly established a resource for locally grown fruit and vegetables that was distributed to county agencies.  The fruits of his labors, along with those of local farmers, community groups, and individuals, quite literally continue to this day through gardens like those at Springton Manor Farm, managed by the Chester County Food Bank.”

The Chester County Gleaning Program began in 1996, when then County Commissioner Dinniman called a meeting of concerned citizens to address the hunger issue in Chester County.  At that meeting, it was suggested that farm surplus, an untapped source of fresh, nourishing food, was a viable solution to the hunger problem.

“I believe that the problem of hunger, in a place like Chester County, is solvable, and the Gleaning Program was designed to be part of that solution,” said Senator Dinniman.  “I am deeply honored by the Commissioners, naming the Garden in recognition of my public service.”

The first two years of the Chester County Gleaning Program – 1996 and 1997 – yielded around 24 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables, and soon after, a formal structure of the program was established.  By the year 2000, more than 500 volunteers gleaned and delivered more than 32 tons of fresh produce.

“At the end of each Gleaning event, I said that when we are blessed with an abundant harvest, it is our obligation to share the harvest with all,” added Dinniman.

Last year, the Chester County Food Bank distributed more than one million pounds of fresh food throughout Chester County to a network of more than 160 hunger relief partners.

Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell said, “Andy Dinniman was on my School Board when I was a Downingtown student, was my professor at West Chester University, was my Senator when I was Downingtown’s mayor and he’s someone who has inspired me to always stay true to who I am and what I believe. Chester County residents have long reaped the benefits of his vigorous approach to public policy that includes multiple points of view and leaves no one behind. There are a lot of people who run for office to fit in, to me Andy stood out. He’s been my mentor since I met him. I’ll spend the rest of my career trying to turn that A- he gave me into an A+.”

Through its partnership with Chester County government, the Chester County Food Bank is able to grow fresh produce at Springton Manor Farm on one acre of fenced-in field space, in an 80-foot tunnel, and produce a variety of crops in the 32-raised bed Demonstration Garden. Seedlings are also started in Springton Manor Farm’s greenhouse.  The field and gardens are fully maintained by the Food Bank for many visitors to enjoy, with the mission to educate and inspire.

In one year at Springton Manor Farm, the Chester County Food Bank averages 325 volunteers, contributing over 1,800 volunteer hours.  In 2020, nearly 18,000 pounds of produce came from Springton Manor Farm’s field, and nearly 1,500 pounds came from the Demonstration Garden.

“The concept of Senator Dinniman’s Gleaning Program was very simple, yet effective,” said Commissioner Michelle Kichline. “It is why the Chester County Food Bank continued the model when it was established in 2009, and why it has grown to include some year-round operations like the one at Springton Manor.”

“The Chester County Food Bank has nurtured the Gleaning Program into deep-rooted initiatives in agriculture, nutrition, and education,” said Bob McNeil founding and current Chair of the Chester County Food Bank.  “Every day the Food Bank staff works to move our community beyond hunger. Andy has been instrumental in supporting local agriculture and preserving our beautiful Chester County resources for all. The Chester County Food Bank is honored to be a part of his legacy.”

At the event honoring Senator Dinniman, the Commissioners unveiled a sign that reads:

This garden is dedicated to Senator Andrew E. Dinniman for 28 years of public service to the citizens of Chester County.  During his years as a public servant, Andy created and developed Chester County’s Gleaning Program, growing food for those in need.  Chester County Food Bank’s successful Farming & Garden Education Programs owe their roots to the Gleaning Program established by Senator Dinniman in 1996.

Garden Resources

We are to support our growing community of gardeners. Whether you are a beginner or a master gardener, we have a variety of resources to help you make the most of your garden.

 

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tag your garden photos with #GetGrowingChesterCounty