fbpx

Food Drives

For Too Many Kids, Summer Means Hunger

 

 

 

The end of the school year is fast approaching and for over 18,000  students in Chester County that means the uncertainty of a daily meal since school will be out of session.  Help the Chester County Food Bank to fill the shelves for neighbors in need by hosting a Summer Food Drive.

The Chester County Food Bank is reaching unprecedently low numbers in food donations. Donations are critical to helping us serve our network of community agencies throughout Chester County. We are asking for your help now to specifically combat summer food scarcity for students. When children are not in school during the summer months, they lose their access to free breakfast and lunches. They turn to their local food cupboards for help. Please consider hosting a food or fund drive within your school, church, neighborhood, or employer during the month of May so we can keep our Chester County kids fed during these summer months.

FOOD DRIVES are a powerful connector for the communities that we serve. The items from your food drive will be sent to our network of more than 160 member agencies organizations such as food cupboards, meal sites, and direct service partners.  Your donation will help feed neighbors in our community who are struggling to put food on the table. When possible, please donate items that are whole grain, no/low sugar/sodium and without high fructose corn syrup. We also ask that you not donate expired food items or items in glass jars. Download the Summer Food Drive Flyer here (or here for a flyer for your own message). Check out our food drive toolkit for how to get started.

FUND DRIVES (monetary donations) are equally as important to our mission to ensure access to real, healthy food and are used to leverage our bulk buying power. Increase the impact of your food drive by supplementing your drive with a fund drive. Checks can be made payable to Chester County Food Bank, give to our online Summer Food Drive or use our online tool for hosting your own virtual food drive. chestercountyfoodbank.fenly.org

Transportation is a significant cost for the Chester County Food Bank and it is challenging to arrange food drive pick-ups around our daily scheduled food deliveries to member agencies. We encourage you to bring your donation directly to CCFB which is located at 650 Pennsylvania Drive in Exton. Please schedule large deliveries (500 lbs+ / approximately 2 cars full or a large SUV/truck) at least 24 hours in advance by emailing food@chestercountyfoodbank.org, or calling 610-873-6000 x126.

Please help make sure no child in Chester County goes hungry this summer.

Canned Foods CAN be a part of a Healthy Diet

February is American Heart Month and National Canned Food Month, and despite conflicting and sometimes confusing nutritional information, canned foods CAN be beneficial to a heart-healthy and overall healthful diet.

From beans to tuna and fruit (in juice) to tomatoes, canned foods are a pantry staple, and here are three reasons that we like to add them to the plate for healthful eating.

Convenient

Most of us savor the first fresh green bean or vine ripe tomato of the season but when fresh isn’t available or it’s just too expensive, canned alternatives can be a nutritious option. Just be sure to read the label for no/low sodium and no/low sugar.

Having canned foods in the pantry can enable you to have a variety of food no matter the season or supplement fresh foods. When healthy foods are convenient, you are more likely to cook and canned foods make for quick meal prep since they are cleaned, chopped, cooked, and easily portioned, helping you quickly assemble delicious and nutritious meals. Think about it, you can have all the ingredients for a bean chili or veggie-packed soup at the ready in your cupboard with shelf-stable canned ingredients.

 

Affordable

Canned vegetables and fruit can be as much 70% less in cost compared to their fresh or frozen counterparts. Since they have a longer shelf life, they are a great option to reduce food waste and enable you to stock the pantry.

Unfortunately, recent supply chain issues are impacting costs, but canned foods remain the best buy for your dollar (and ours!)

 

Nutritious

Canned food is filled with important nutrients, including fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy diet.

Canned foods are considered minimally processed; after being cleaned, peeled, chopped, and trimmed, as necessary, foods are cooked in the can to lock in nutrients and flavor. The nutrients from canned foods are a healthy alternative when fresh or frozen foods are not available. Just be sure to read labels for ingredients, no, low/reduced sodium, no syrups/sugar, and look for canned meats in water, not oil or sauce. Draining and rinsing foods can also help to lower salt and sugar content.

So, when you see the Stock Up Can Sale at your local grocery, don’t hesitate to pick up some cans for effortless healthy eating, and we ask that you pick up some extra cans to donate to the Chester County Food Bank or your local cupboard too.  Canned foods (as well as can openers) are a welcomed staple at our network of hunger relief partners and in the cupboards of the people that we serve.

 

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 160 food cupboards, meal sites, and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

 

Photos: Canva

How to Maximize Your CCFB Food Drive

You’ve decided to organize a food drive for the Chester County Food Bank (CCFB)— that’s great! We simply couldn’t tackle food insecurity in our community without these types of donations that come from our dedicated, passionate supporters. Every single item that you and your family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else who’s participating, collect ends up in the hands of one of our neighbors in need, and it can make a positive impact on their day, week and beyond. 

Now that you’ve assembled your awesome crew of food drive team members and registered your drive with the Food Bank, you might be wondering how you can mobilize your energy and make the most of your efforts. We get questions like this a lot! One great place to start is with our Food Drive Tool Kit, which addresses frequently asked questions, provides a list of our most-needed food items, and includes handy resources, like our logo and promotional flyers. 

But there’s one major piece to the food drive puzzle which might not be clear, but it is really important for us: Just focus on a few items instead of trying to gather “one of everything.” While you might think of the food you gather as providing complete meals for one or a few families, it’s better to think of it like taking care of one category of food — perhaps pasta, grains and cereal, or canned or dried beans, or cooking oil. 

“We tell people that are starting to plan their food drive: Think of this as stocking the shelves in a grocery store,” said Anne Shuniak CCFB’s Senior Manager of Marketing. “If you were to collect 100 boxes of pasta and 100 jars of sauce, 100 families would have a meal, but if you brought a couple of this or a few of that, while it would be great and more than someone had, it doesn’t help to make a meal.” 

Stocking the shelves is, in fact, what food drives do for CCFB. Remember, we are not a food cupboard or pantry, where families and individuals come to pick up items that will help supplement their meals throughout the week. Chester County Food Bank is a centralized hunger relief organization, taking in donations from many sources, organizing and storing thousands of pounds of food in our warehouse, and then we redistribute items to food pantries, which we refer to as our “member agencies.” (For more on the differences between food banks and food pantries, see here). Our warehouse really does resemble a supermarket; the warehouse is organized by item and laid out in a similar fashion to a supermarket, with wide, deep shelves and aisles.

Choosing one or two items to focus on for your food drive — bonus points for creating a theme, like “pasta dinner” or “Soup-er Bowl” — also makes it easy for all participants to remember. Every time your team members are at the store doing their own shopping, they’ll remember to put a few extra of that item in their cart. Also, common pantry staples are something neighbors typically have on hand. When asking for donations, it’s best to be direct and specific, so a question like, “Do you have an extra can of soup or tuna in your cupboard?” might produce more effective results than a more vague, “Do you have anything to donate to our food drive?” 

Another bonus of approaching your food drive this way is that you can harness the power of buying in bulk (something we know all about from our trips to local produce auctions). Items like rice and dried beans are even more inexpensive when you buy them from a bulk section, which are becoming popular in mainstream grocery stores. If the item your food drive is collecting is on sale one week, you can stock up, and, of course, warehouse stores, like Costco and BJs, are your ace in the hole if you’re a member, when it comes to buying in large quantities.

As with all of our food drives, we encourage you to choose foods that are whole-grain, low-sodium/sugar, and that do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils. Also, please note: We are not able to accept expired or homemade goods, or items in glass. For answer to all other questions, please refer to our Food Bank Tool Kit, or reach out to us at  food@chestercountyfoodbank.org. Good luck on organizing your most successful food drive ever! 

 

Want to learn more? Check out our mission video, 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 to request 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

Celebrate Your Birthday with Chester County Food Bank

There are plenty of social media trends that come into our feeds but don’t strike much interest. But one emerging trend that we can get behind is people asking for donations to charitable causes via social media in lieu of birthday (anniversary, housewarming) presents. It’s such a creative, personal way for people to engage with their communities, both near and far, and to fundraise for an issue or organization that’s meaningful to them.

In the past year or two, we’ve noticed lots of our amazing supporters using Facebook and other platforms to gather birthday/celebration donations for Chester County Food Bank (CCFB), and for that we cannot thank you enough! It warms our hearts to see the selflessness and generosity that are behind these online fundraisers.

Jason Bauer with his mom and sister. Photo courtesy of Lori Bauer.

Many adults have given up expecting a huge party and heaps of presents for their birthdays, but it’s something extra-special when kids use their birthdays as a way to encourage friends and family to donate time or money to good causes. We have two stories of kids who recently turned their birthdays into occasions to give back to their communities through the CCFB.

In August 2019, the only thing Jason Bauer wanted for his 12th birthday was to volunteer with his mother and sister at one of our raised bed gardens in Springton. Twelve is the minimum age for volunteers at the CCFB, and Jason wanted to do it at the first possible opportunity. He got his wish, and he and his family spent a beautiful afternoon helping to harvest produce to feed our neighbors in need. 

“It was something he had been really excited about for a while,” said Jason’s mom, Lori Bauer. “Jason, his sister, and I all loved it and found it very rewarding and humbling. The people who worked and volunteered there were all so kind and welcoming and helped make it a very wonderful experience!”

Lori says that Jason’s interest in the Chester County Food Bank started last year when one of his teachers spoke to the class about saving the planet. This school lesson inspired him to start fundraising for CCFB.

“He did this through selling handmade toys and lemonade, as well as fundraising (with my help) via email and social media,” said Lori. “I’ve never seen his face light up more than when he saw the donation amount increase!”

So far, Jason’s efforts, including a Go Fund Me Campaign, have raised nearly $400 that he plans to donate to the Chester County Food Bank. In his Go Fund Me statement, Jason says that he’s done some research and “found out that if we donate money instead of canned foods, our money not only can buy more food, it can also buy healthier options, like fruits and vegetables.” This is true! Of course, food drives are hugely important to what CCFB does, but with donated funds, we’re able to use our buying power to procure huge quantities of fresh produce from produce auctions, which helps us to fulfill our commitment to nutrition

Another inspiring story came to us last July when another local child, Dylan Houck, used his birthday as the organizing force behind a food drive — and the community really stepped up to get involved and support his efforts. Dylan’s goal was to raise more than 3,000 pounds of food, which he handily achieved: 3,124 pounds of food ended up going to the CCFB and an additional 160 pounds of food to a local family. This incredible haul consisted of 452 cans of chicken and tuna, 700 boxes of mac and cheese, 221 jars of peanut butter, 155 boxes of cereal and literally tons more! It’s truly inspiring to see what is possible when a group of people band together to make a difference in their town or region!

If these kids can go without new books, toys and clothes for one birthday, anyone can! Consider using your next birthday, anniversary or other celebration as a way to mobilize your social circles into some positive action. (We’ve created a fun Facebook birthday fundraiser cover to get you started. ) 

 

Want to learn more? Watch our our new mission video, 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

Feature photo: Pexels

 

Better Together: Peanut Butter & Jelly Community Food Drive

When we think of kids in summertime, many of us conjure images of children splashing in pools, playing sports at camps, having sleepovers with friends or racing against the sun’s heat to enjoy an ice cream cone before it melts.

But for many children, in our neighborhoods and beyond, these idyllic scenes are far from reality. In fact, for more than 18,000 students in Chester County, school’s being out of session means that the only meal they can be certain of—school lunch—is no longer a constant they can count on. Also, many kids who aren’t old enough to cook something safely for themselves are left home alone. Peanut butter and jelly isn’t just for kids, but families and seniors also rely on this pantry staple.

That’s why the Chester County Food Bank is once again hosting its Better Together: PB&J Community Food Drive to help fill the shelves of neighbors in need with a crowd-pleasing food: peanut butter and jelly! This classic sandwich is a good source of protein, and is also easy for school-age kids to make for themselves without risk of cuts or burns.

We’ll be gathering the supplies we need to keep our agencies stocked all summer long at our Fifth Annual Peanut Butter & Jelly Food Drive and Community Weigh-In.

Here’s how it works:

  1. To participate in the PB&J Drive, first assemble a team. This can be neighbors, co-workers, school groups, family—anyone!
  2. Begin collecting donations of any brand or type of peanut butter, almond or alternative nut butter, jelly or jam. We ask that items have NO high fructose corn syrup and no trans fats. To avoid breakage, we ask for plastic jars instead of glass. Also, no expired or homemade items or pre-made sandwiches, please.
  3. Weigh in! On Friday, June 7, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m (new time this year), bring all of your donations to the Chester County Food Bank in Exton for the Community Weigh-In event! If you’ve never been to the Food Bank this is also a great time to get a tour and learn more about us.

We’ve had such an amazing response to this community food drive. Since it’s inception the PB&J Drive has brought in over 35 TONS of peanut butter and jelly. We are BETTER TOGETHER.  Will you join us?

For more info on the PB&J drive, check out the event flyer or email food@chestercountyfoodbank.org. Check out our Food Drive Tool Kit for printable flyers and details. If you’re unable to participate directly in the drive, please consider making a financial donation. Because CCFB can buy the food our clients need in bulk, we can stretch your dollars further to purchase even more of this important pantry staple with your generous donation.

 

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. Reach us at 610-873-6000. 

Emily Kovach

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Coordinating a Local Food Drive: The Power of One and the Power of Many

The communities of bucolic Chester County are well known for stepping up to the plate when needed—and we need your assistance now more than ever. Many of our neighbors struggle with basic needs all year long, and as the weather begins to turn colder and the holidays approach, we once again need you to rally around to make life easier and to provide for those who might be in less fortunate situations.

At the Chester County Food Bank, we often hear that people think they don’t have the resources or the power to pull off a food drive of any caliber. Perhaps they believe it will require too much of their time. Or, they don’t know exactly which food items to include. Or that they can’t possibly put a dent in the amount of food required.

We invite you to take a look at the following two valuable examples of people working in conjunction with the Chester County Food Bank to coordinate and execute powerful food drives. These are your neighbors, businesses and friends taking the time to make a measurable impact with little effort.

The Power of One

Nate Hyson realized at the young age of 6 that there were others less fortunate than he. He began by building a donation box, placing it in his neighborhood. He soon collected $30. He explains, “I made a collection box out of Magformers (a construction toy) and decided that the money I collected would go to feed babies. We brought the baby food purchased to a women’s shelter and then I decided I wanted to go bigger.”

Now, at 12 years old, he is the founder of the Baby Food Fund of Chester County. Infants are the focus because “they can’t help themselves,” Nate says with determination.

Nate and his mom, Sarah, provide everything required to collect items for infants in West Bradford Elementary School. “It only takes me a total of five or six hours to coordinate with the principal to pick a date, send out flyers through the school, bring collection bins to the school, and then stop by periodically throughout the drive to pick up food,” says Sarah.

Since its inception, Baby Food Fund has donated more than 250 pounds of baby food. The results are rewarding, notes Nate. When asked what inspires him to run the food drive and what personal rewards he gets from doing this, Nate states simply, “It’s an easy way to help other people, and there are people who really need the food. It makes me feel nice to deliver baby food to Chester County Food Bank, knowing that I’m helping babies get a good start in life.” Way to go, Nate!

The Power of Many

The Diwali Food Drive was initiated in 2012 by the residents of the Byers Station community in Chester Springs. Inspired by the five-day good-over-evil spirit of Diwali—the Festival of Light, this food drive is one of the largest community-hosted drives, with over 150,000 pounds of food donated to date.

As part of the Diwali festival, participants serve and feed the poor and needy. As noted on the Diwali Facebook page, “It’s important that our communities inculcate this very humane trait into our next generations during the festival season and channel our energies and resources for the benefit of people who need the most in the form of food to create a sense of shared development by encouraging our children to organize and participate in food drives throughout the United States of America.”

Through tradition, word-of-mouth and community Facebook pages, these dedicated neighbors continue to rally by going door to door, providing centralized food drop-off and pick-up locations and partnering with local businesses to generate this massive effort.

 

The Diwali Food Drive has grown to 10 communities throughout Chester County including: Byers Station, Malvern Hunt, the Reserve at Eagle Hunt, Windsor Ridge, Bell Tavern, Applecross, the Reserve at Waynebrook, the Reserve at Eagle Village, Whiteland Woods, the Reserve at Chestnut Ridge. The 2017 drive generated a record 54,000 pounds of cereal, juice, and canned goods.

 

 

Get involved now. Be the change you want to see. Donate timefood or cash or call us at (610) 873-6000 and learn how you can make a difference in Chester County.

Sign up for our in-depth newsletter and be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for up-to-the-minute information.

The Chester County Food Bank is nonprofit and the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 partner agencies in Chester County, Pa. Through our network of food cupboardshot meal sites, shelters and other social service organizations, we distribute 2.9 million pounds to our neighbors with limited or uncertain access to adequate food. We also take a steadfast approach to provide food and build support in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among our community. Visit our Nutrition Education page to learn about how our programs are making inroads in the fight against hunger. We are located at 650 Pennsylvania Dr., Exton, Pa. 19341.

Ed Williams

Photos of Nate by Sarah Hyson; remaining photos by Ed Williams and Chester County Food Bank

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

Meet Our Community Partner: Diwali Food Drive

When it comes to charitable giving and volunteering, the fall and winter holidays are when we often see a big surge from the community. Thanksgiving and Christmas may come to mind, but for the Byers Station community in Chester County, the holiday of Diwali—the Festival of Light—is the catalyst for a coordinated group effort to give back. Diwali (sometimes spelled “Deepavali”) is a five-day Hindu celebration that takes place each autumn in the Northern Hemisphere to signify the victory of light over dark and good over evil.

Since 2012, friends and neighbors in Byers Station and beyond have banded together to create the Diwali Food Drive, which captures the spirit of giving to those in need, a fundamental part of of the Diwali holiday. By creating individual goals on the Diwali Food Drive website, communities and neighborhoods demonstrate through their actions how much strength there is in numbers. By combining their smaller goals, all of the communities together can accomplish the main goal: This year’s goal was 60,000 pounds of food!

Chester County Food Bank is honored to be one of the recipients of this amazing community effort. This year’s drive, which wrapped up on October 21, brought in 25,532 pounds of food donations. A portion of these donations will also be sent to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

We’ve been one of the Diwali Food Drive’s distribution partners since its inception, and we’ve watched the initiative grow and evolve. Using word-of-mouth and harnessing the power of social media, the collective has expanded well beyond Byers Station to include 12 other communities throughout Chester County. The drive has become an annual tradition; families include their children, neighbors recruit one another—politicians are even getting involved! This year, Pennsylvania Rep. Duane Miller was present at various Chester County Diwali Food Drive events and was a vocal supporter of the mission.

The Diwali Food Drive’s impact cannot be understated. In the 5 years since it began, this group has brought 116,521 pounds of food directly to the Chester County Food Bank! Thanks to this donation, we are able to continue our mission of addressing hunger across the county, and sustain our many programs and initiatives that provide food for our neighbors in need.

Want to learn moreSign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds 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 take a steadfast approach to provide food and build support in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among our community.

Emily Kovach

First two photos: Pixabay; remaining photos: Balaji Studios

What Is Food Insecurity?

A fully stocked fridge after a trip to the grocery store; a farmer’s market bag stuffed with leafy greens and plump tomatoes; a fruit bowl, spilling over with sweet, ripening fruit: the sensation of abundance is a basic human pleasure. But for so many of our neighbors—more than 50,000 in fact, including 18,000-plus children—this is a feeling they rarely enjoy.

Instead of food wealth, their experience is food insecurity. At Chester County Food Bank, we broadly define food insecurity as “a household that is without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food at any given time.” Though Chester County is the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania, this remains a serious issue for many of our residents.

Food insecurity lies at the heart of CCFB’s mission to mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food. There are numerous reasons why a family may experience food insecurity, either for a few tight months or for years at a time. This situation may be related to unexpected unemployment, a sudden health crisis or disability, or simply a struggle to make ends meet. As of the 2015 American Community Survey, Chester County has 7.1 percent of the population living below the federal poverty level, or approximately 35,000 people. Each family’s complex scenario is the driving force behind our diverse programs.

From Meals on Wheels meal preparation and distribution for seniors on fixed incomes, to our Summer Food Boxes that help bridge the gap for children who rely on free or reduced-price school meals to our Fresh2You Mobile Market, which brings affordable produce to areas where fresh food is scarce, each one of our programs is aimed at solving food insecurity in Chester County.

With the help of our amazing volunteers, committed Community Partners, supportive staff and generous donors, every day brings us one step closer to ensuring that no one in our communities lives with the uneasiness or fear of not knowing where their next meal is coming from.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or request 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: Ed Williams

Hunters: Share the Harvest with Your Food Bank

Did you know there’s a program that helps make sure interested hunters may share their bounty with those less fortunate? The Chester County Food Bank was grateful to receive 5,150 pounds of venison in 2015, thanks to Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) and generous local hunters.

HSH is a charitable program that connects hunters with butchers across Pennsylvania who are dedicated to getting venison, a healthful lean protein, to local food banks. This initiative, combined with local hunters’ fundraising and advocacy efforts, puts food on the tables of Pennsylvania’s less fortunate.

Art Lyle of Backyard Bucks has been a longtime supporter of the effort and our Food Bank. He says the group’s members are delighted they can help by simply doing something they love: hunting. For him, however, it goes deeper.

Piece of frozen meat onions and garlic. A table from old boards rural style

“The main reason I got involved was that I grew up in a family of six, and we didn’t always have food—or not much of it,” Art explained. “There were some times we would eat bread or rice, and other times we went to food banks. I always said if I could ever find a way to give back, I would. That extends to Backyard Bucks: We just believe it’s the right thing.”

Art offered these tips for other hunters’ groups that might be interested in helping the Chester County Food Bank:

  • Ask all attending your fundraising event to bring three nonperishable food items. Those who do can get raffle tickets for a chance to win a crossbow, muzzleloader or other prize. This is a great way to collect a lot of nonperishables for the food bank.
  • Encourage each hunter to make a difference by harvesting at least one extra deer and donating it.
  • Help identify property owners willing to open their land to hunters. In particular, properties where nonprofits like Backyard Bucks can hunt free of charge are greatly needed.

Hunters and hunters’ clubs looking to get involved may reach out to the following HSH participating butchers:

  • Countryside Butchering, 269 Long Ln., Honey Brook, PA 19344; 610-273-2629
  • Fisher’s Butcher Shop, 48 Furnace Rd., Quarryville, PA 17566; 717-786-7398
  • Foresta’s Market, 1098 W. Bridge St., Phoenixville, PA 19460; 610-935-1777
  • Noble Road Butcher Shop, 1553 Noble Rd., Kirkwood, PA 17536; 717-529-9031
  • Smokers Custom Butchering, 12 Old Leacock Rd., Ronks, PA 17572; 717-768-7046

Of course, the Chester County Food Bank is also grateful for gifts of nonperishables, grocery store gift cards and financial donations, too. We greatly appreciate our hunter friends who embrace the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program—as do our food cupboards and their clients.

Volunteers Collecting Food Donations In Warehouse

Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank collects, stores and distributes food to over 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations. Since our beginning in 2009, we have increased distribution over 119% by distributing 2.5 million pounds of food. The Food Bank partners with donors, volunteers, farmers, schools and businesses to address hunger and food insecurity with compassion and creativity.

Nina Malone

Photos: BigStock

Our Challenge: How You Can Become a Holiday Hero

The holiday season seems to be thrust upon us more quickly every year. The hustle and bustle harbor the anticipation of family, friends and delicious holiday feasts with toasts of good cheer, warm laughter and cherished memories.

The challenge.

It’s difficult for us to imagine what it feels like to not be able to have these amazing banquets, to not be able to provide the resources or the money to plan a basic nourishing holiday meal for our family—meals that we many times take for granted.

Our challenge for you is this: Don’t eat anything for eight hours. No protein bars. Skip the fruit and nuts. Omit that nutritious shake. Go ahead and try it. Observe how empty your stomach feels, how light your head seems and how difficult it is to maintain even a bit of focus toward the end of the day.

For many of our own Chester County neighbors—multiply those eight hours into days, weeks or perhaps months.

Think of it this way. Eight hours is also the average amount of time required to take part in creating a successful food drive with the Chester County Food Bank. It may not sound like a huge investment from you, but the positive impact is exponential for us—and for our communities. We need you to be our hero.

ccfb-3

Get involved. It’s easy.

You want to be involved but where do you begin? How do you plan a food drive during the busy holiday season? What resources do you need?

Whether you wish to conduct a smaller solo effort or to coordinate a more massive drive to include friends, family and coworkers, we have it all spelled out simply on our easy-to-navigate website. Take a look at our online tool kit that includes the information you’ll need.

To make the process go even more smoothly—simply register your food drive with us via our convenient email.

Specific holiday items are always beneficial this time of year and include frozen turkeys, canned vegetables, fruit, cranberry sauce and gravies, as well as packaged instant potatoes and boxed stuffing. Focus on collecting one item by itself if it makes it easier. We’ll accept it all. In fact, we will also accept the receipts for free turkeys that some neighborhood grocery stores provide to frequent shoppers in addition to actual frozen turkeys.  We’ve even added Saturday drop off hours – we will be open Saturdays in November (9a-noon) leading up to Thanksgiving accepting food donations.

Still not sure what additional things to collect? Check out our year-round food and breakfast needed items. We encourage you to participate in this year’s Chester County Housing & Food for All 365 National Hunger Homelessness Awareness Week events (November 12-19).

ccfb-1

Be a hero. Donate.

We certainly realize how valuable your personal time is and we do understand if you cannot commit to organizing a food drive at this time, but we continue to need your involvement. You still have the opportunity to be a community hero by simply donating.

Our dedicated team of staff members and volunteers is willing to assist you to become a true holiday hero for our own neighbors. Call us at (610) 873-6000 with any questions you may have and thank you for your sincere support.

Sign up for our in-depth newsletter and be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for up-to-the-minute information.

The Chester County Food Bank is  the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 partner agencies in Chester County, Pa. Through our network of food cupboardshot meal sites, shelters and other social service organizations, we distribute over 2.5 million pounds to our neighbors with limited or uncertain access to adequate food. We also take a steadfast approach to provide food and build support in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among our community. Visit our Nutrition Education page to learn about how our programs are making inroads in the fight against hunger. We are located at 650 Pennsylvania Dr., Exton, Pa. 19341.

Ed Williams