Tag Archives: donate

Be a Good Neighbor: Keep Your Giving Local

The past decade has seen an amazing cultural shift in terms of consumer behavior: the trend of buying local. What began as a philosophy has blossomed into an organized, intentional way of small companies marketing their wares, and of communities supporting their own microeconomies. Perhaps you’ve seen the Buy Fresh Buy Local logo on various Pennsylvania-grown or -made products or produce from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. This is just one example of how the local food movement has become promoted in mainstream food systems.

Even if you can’t buy everything “local,” we’ll bet you enjoy perusing your community’s farmers markets for peak-season produce and chatting with the folks who grew it. Isn’t it nice to be able to ask the farmer how often she sprays her orchards, or the gent selling mushrooms how to best use exotic king trumpet mushrooms? Shopping local isn’t just about getting higher-quality goods and keeping your carbon footprint lower — in addition to those benefits, it provides a sense of connection, breaking through the walls that stand between the consumer and the producer when you shop at big box stores and supermarkets.

So if you love to shop local, why not keep your charitable giving local as well? We understand that, especially these days, most of us are inundated with donation requests — some for causes that reach around the world. And while we recognize the important of many of these l initiatives, if you care about keeping your dollars in Chester County, we encourage you to keep your giving local.

By donating to Chester County Food Bank, either by giving money, participating in food drives or sharing your time as a volunteer, you’re helping to strengthen your very own community. Instead of donating money to an organization where you’ll never see the outcome or results, investing in CCFB and our mission yields results that you can see for yourself all year long. Perhaps you come to our annual Open House to see our facilities and meet our dedicated staff and volunteers. You can see our trucks out on local roads, coming back from a produce auction or distributing food from our warehouse to one of our many member agencies. There may be kids in your child’s classroom who receive weekend backpacks so they’re not hungry over the weekends, or senior citizens living on your block whom we help to feed with food boxes or Meals on Wheels. Or maybe your church or community center is a host to garden plots that are part of our popular Raised Bed Garden Program, which yields more than 40,000 pounds of fresh food each year to help give our neighbors in need nutritious and delicious produce to enjoy.

All around us, in our own cities and towns in Chester County, are the visible fruits of our labor and the outcomes of our donors’ generosity. If you want to experience the satisfaction of thinking globally but donating locally, consider making a gift to Chester County Food Bank today! No amount is too small (head here to see all the things $20 can do at CCFB), and donations can also be made monthly or in someone’s memory or honor.

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

Featured photo: Bigstock; all other photos: Chester County Food Bank

How Far Your $20 Can Go at Chester County Food Bank

What can you do with a $20 bill? Put some gas in your car, take a friend out to a movie, maybe pick up a new book or DVD. One place $20 won’t go very far, we’ve noticed, is the grocery store. Have you ever run into the store just to “buy a few things,” and walked out with a half-full bag and $50 less in your bank account? While the cost of food is lower in the United States than in many countries with similar economies, it can still seem pretty expensive while doing your shopping.

That’s just one of the reasons we’re so proud of our purchasing power at Chester County Food Bank. We take your $20 donation so much further than you could spend it in a supermarket. This is possible through our relationships with local farmers, from whom we buy surplus produce; by pursuing exceptionally priced deals with food wholesalers and by making frequent trips to the Leola Produce Auction, where we scout out the best deals on fruits and veggies that Amish and Mennonite farmers bring in by the truckload.

Take a minute to envision what $20 might purchase at a regular market, and then check out how far your $20 donation could go at Chester County Food Bank:

  • Four weekend backpacks: For many of the 18,000 children in our community who rely on free or reduced-price meals at school, the weekends can be tough. Our Weekend Backpack program combats food insecurity for these kids with nutritious, family-friendly ingredients to keep them fed all weekend long. A typical weekend backpack might contain rice, chicken, oatmeal, milk, trail mix, raisins and cans of fruits and veggies. One $20 bill can provide weekend meals for four kids.
  • 20 boxes of cereal: Can you imagine how much 20 boxes of even the cheapest cereal would run you at the grocery store? Because our buying power and warehouse storage allows us to purchase in bulk, we can get remarkably good deals on dry goods such as cereal. Your $20 donation could purchase 20 boxes of cereal to help feed our neighbors in need.
  • 80 pounds of fresh produce: Chester County Food Bank is able to distribute nearly one million pounds of fresh produce per year. Although our Raised Bed Garden and Farming programs provide us with some of that produce, the majority comes from items that we purchase at auction. The prices at the Leola Produce Auction are so low that, on average, we can buy many fruits and veggies for 25 cents per pound! That means a $20 donation can help us buy 80 pounds of nutrient-packed produce, like fresh broccoli.
  • 80 pounds of rice or dried beans: One of the most economic ways we can stretch $20 is by buying bulk dried beans and grains and then bagging them up into smaller portions. Imagine an 80-pound heap of rice — that’s what your donation could accomplish by allowing us to purchase bulk goods at 25 cents per pound!
  • A complete Thanksgiving dinner for a family: Though we believe every meal is important, holiday meals can add extra pressure for families struggling to make ends meet. For $20, we can provide a full Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings for one family of 6 to 8 people. This includes a whole turkey, potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. For the price of a cheap lunch date, you can provide a memorable Thanksgiving for a hungry family in our community.

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 mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Emily Kovach

Photos: Chester County Food Bank

CCFB and Whole Foods Market Exton: A Tasty Partnership for Good

Exton is abuzz with the news that Whole Foods Market is set to open in town on Thursday, January 18. This is a great development for the region, not only because the 50,000-square-foot market will provide an amazing array of produce, meats, dairy, prepared foods and more (with a local focus, when possible), but because Whole Foods Market is a dedicated community partner in all of the areas in which it has locations.

For example, it’s kicking things off in anticipation of the Exton store opening with an exciting promotion. During the next few weeks leading up to the grand opening, Whole Foods Market is teaming up with a number of local organizations and food-focused businesses to give away Mystery Gift Cards! These secret savings cards are Whole Foods Market gift cards loaded with amounts anywhere between $5 and $100. You won’t find out how much your card is worth until you’re checking out at the register. These Mystery Gift Cards are only valid from January 18–February 4.

Chester County Food Bank is one of the stops on this fun-filled local tour, which offers an opportunity to give back to our neighbors in need:

  • On Monday, January 15, which is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., drop off a food donation at the Food Bank and pick up a Mystery Gift Card! (Available to the first 300 people). Though you may have just given to us during the holidays or with an end-of-year gift, food insecurity continues as an issue for many of our neighbors all year long. Deep winter can be especially tough for families and seniors, whose costs of living can dramatically increase as heating bills go up. Our most needed items are nonperishable goods, such as canned tuna, canned chicken, canned fruit, peanut butter, beans and cereal. (Please, no homemade goods, glass jars or expired food.) Once you’ve dropped off your donation, you’re invited to stay and enjoy on-site kids’ activities and snacks from the Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value brand.

Later in the month, there will be another great opportunity to make a huge impact on CCFB through Whole Foods Market:

  • On Wednesday, January 24, Chester County Food Bank will be the recipient of Whole Foods Market in Exton’s 5% Day, when 5 percent of the day’s sales will be donated to us. If there are pantry staples you need to stock back up on after the holidays, vitamins or supplements you’ve been eyeing or it’s just time for your weekly shopping trip, we urge you to come in that day to help your money work overtime to benefit CCFB. Some of the Food Bank crew will be at the store along with programming and kids’ activities throughout the day in the store.

The Whole Foods Market team is just as excited as we are about this partnership. Alison Marcantuno, the Exton team store leader, says, “We are proud to partner with the Chester County Food Bank for Whole Foods Market Exton’s first Community Giving Day on Wednesday, January 24. Chester County Food Bank’s work to combat hunger by providing access to real and healthy food aligns well with Whole Foods Market’s core values. We are excited to help raise money to support their important mission, and hope the community will shop with us on January 24!”

Help us welcome Whole Foods Market to Exton while giving back to CCFB’s mission to ensure access to real, healthy food in our communities!

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: Whole Foods Market

Say Farewell to 2017 with a Year-End Deduction to Chester County Food Bank

Before we close the books on 2017, take the opportunity to squeeze in another tax deduction by making a donation to Chester County Food Bank. No matter the size, your gift helps us to continue our mission of ending hunger insecurity for our neighbors in Chester County.

By donating to the food bank, you can help to provide nutritious, healthy food to our hungry neighbors. This year, our generous donors enabled us to distribute nearly 2.7 million pounds of food and feed more than 50,000 people in Chester County. Monetary gifts also help us to continue the important work of providing nutrition education to kids and adults, growing our Raised Bed Gardens program and delivering food to our most vulnerable citizens through Meals on Wheels and Senior Food Boxes for the elderly, as well as supplying weekend backpacks and summer food boxes to school-aged children.

Looking back at the amazing year we’ve had, we’re inspired by donors like the communities that organize around the annual Diwali Food Drive, which has brought us 116,521 pounds of food in the past 5 years. We’re also thankful for business partners like Wegmans and its Care About Hunger campaign and honored to have community partners like Mogreena, a community garden which participates in our Raised Bed Gardens program and is one of the host sites of our Fresh2You Mobile Market.

Please consider joining our community of generous donors and help us continue to pursue our mission in 2018. While we often turn our attention to ways we can help our neighbors in need during the holidays, the truth is that they can use a helping hand all throughout the year. You can donate by year’s end in a number of ways:

Thank you for considering the Chester County Food Bank when making a last-minute, tax-deductible donation. Here’s to a safe and healthy 2018!

Emily Kovach

Photos, top to bottom: Ed Williams; Balaji Studios; Ed Williams; Scott Clay

Get Involved: 4 Ways You Can Help the Food Bank This Fall

Now that the kids are back at school, the Chester County Food Bank—a local nonprofit organization that collects, grows, purchases, processes, stores and distributes food to over 120 food cupboards and meal sites throughout the county—has some immediate needs so that they can help to feed the hungry in our community. While you may be dreaming of pumpkin spice lattes, there are people in our own neighborhoods who don’t know when they will get their next nutritious meal. Here are a few ways you can help:

Weekday Volunteers

Dedicated students helped out all summer in the kitchen and at area farms. Now that these students are back to school, the Food Bank has many available shifts for weekday volunteers. This is a great opportunity if you’ve been looking to join in and help.

Signing up to volunteer is easy via the online volunteer calendar. Once you create a profile, you can register for the workdays of your choosing.

The Food Bank is also accepting group volunteer requests for shifts now until December. This is a great activity for a church, business or moms’ club to give back to the community. Email volunteer@chestercountyfoodbank.org today with three potential dates, as well as your preferred time and location—kitchen or farm. It’s that simple!

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Weekend Backpack Program

Did you know the Chester County Food Bank has a weekend backpack program for food-insecure students? The program helps children get nutritious and easy-to-prepare food so that they don’t go hungry over the weekend. At the discretion of school officials, food is offered not only to students eligible for free or reduced meals, but also to students who fall within the gap of ineligibility for the school meal subsidy programs.

Volunteers are needed to pack resealable bags with a rotating variety of shelf-stable food items that the Food Bank distributes weekly from October through May to 10 school districts in Chester County, including after-school programs and Head Start sites.

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Back to School Food Drive

Heading back to school is a great time for food drives! Whether through a sports team, an on-campus service organization or a theater performance group, there are so many opportunities to get students involved in the issue of food insecurity. It’s a great time for companies to participate in back to school-themed food drives, too. The most needed items currently are pasta, rice, canned tuna and chicken, cereal, oatmeal and canned fruit and vegetables. Visit the Food Bank’s website for more information on how to host a successful food drive.

Donate

Short on time and can’t volunteer? No problem! The Chester County Food Bank accepts monetary donations to support all of its programs. Your financial contribution helps the Food Bank serve our Chester County neighbors who struggle with hunger and food insecurity. Cash donations support innovative programs to address the root causes of hunger through advocacy and education. Monetary donations also allow Chester County Food Bank to purchase bulk food and fresh produce.

Donating is easy. Contact us via email or phone (610-873-6000) or donate directly online.

To find out more about programs, news and how to get involved with Chester County Food Bank, visit the organization’s website and be sure to follow along on Facebook.

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

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

Now in its sixth year of operation, the Chester County Food Bank has always been on a dedicated mission to end hunger in 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. The Food Bank does so much more than collect canned goods, sort fresh produce and raise awareness of the need to help close to 50,000 people. Take a look at the snapshot below.

The Who

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

  • The collection and distribution of fresh food and nonperishable items throughout the county, including “food desert” areas.
  • The education of our communities on the benefits of food access, healthy food preparation and teaching healthy cooking habits.
  • Providing the means to organize and promote successful food drives 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

trinseo 2016_whole crew

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

Raised Bed Gardens: a network of over 100 garden sites provides fresh produce to local food cupboards from May through November.

Farming: 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 120 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 Nutrition Education programs, recipes, cooking classes and the Fresh2You Mobile Market.

The Why

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  • 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 at least 1 in 14 people in Chester County is food insecure, meaning that they lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food? Check out the Food Bank’s website or “like” the Food Bank on Facebook for community facts, promotions and donation and volunteer opportunities.
  • 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? Schedule a tour or request a speaker for your next community or corporate meeting.

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