At the Chester County Food Bank, we’re working year-round to end hunger and food insecurity in our communities. No matter the season, we’re mobilizing our staff and volunteers to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need, from Simple Suppers to nutrition education.
That said, September is a preview to the giving season, as it’s Hunger Action Month, a wide-reaching initiative from Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. For us, food insecurity is a priority day in and day out; still, September gives us a chance to address issues of hunger in a more high-profile way.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in Hunger Action Month this year, but here are four that can help you to make the most of it:
1. Practice Acts of Advocacy
Advocacy is central to what we do at the Food Bank. We count on public support to help further our mission and accomplish our goals, and without a network of allies to help us spread the word about our work, we’d be in trouble. We can organize and take action, but to make the biggest impact, we need our supporters to help share the important message about how hunger affects those living in our cities and towns.
Ricky Eller, our Advocacy Coordinator, says that during Hunger Action Month, you can also practice advocacy in the following ways:
- Join us in speaking out against the harmful changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) being proposed by the USDA. Under the new proposal, nearly 3,500 Chester County residents are at risk of losing their SNAP benefits. SNAP is an important first line of defense against hunger that provides more than 10 times the number of meals as the Feeding America network of food banks. Learn more about the proposal here and submit a comment to oppose changes that would harm working families, seniors and people with disabilities while jeopardizing school meals for children.
- Prepare to use your voting power to stave off hunger! September 24th is #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and it is easier than ever to register in Pennsylvania! Residents can register online or check their registration status by visiting VotesPA.com. There will be a Municipal General Election on November 5th. The last day to register in time to vote in that election is October 7th. Don’t delay, register today!
2. Donate Food
Many people feel energized in September, making it the perfect time to hold a food drive. Gather a group of friends, neighbors, colleagues or church friends, and see how fun it can be to make a difference! When you host a food drive, you’re helping to provide our member agencies with nutritious, high-quality food so they can serve our neighbors struggling with food insecurity.
While all pantry staples are welcome, back-to-school time means there is an extra-high demand for breakfast foods. If possible, we’d appreciate food drives focused on nutritious breakfast favorites, like cereal, oatmeal and canned fruit in juice (no high-fructose corn syrup, please!). See here to learn more.
3. Get to Know CCFB a Little Better
Brush up on CCFB’s mission and programs by watching a few of our videos! A great place to start is with our mini-documentary, A Fresh Approach, which is all about our history and our work in the community.
4. Sign Up to Volunteer
Whether you’re new to CCFB or you’ve been a supporter for years, we’d love to have you pitch in as a volunteer. If you like to cook, garden, work with children or just spend some social time with others helping out a good cause, there is an opportunity waiting for you at the Food Bank! Commitments range from one afternoon-long session to ongoing shifts — it’s completely up to you and your availability! Come alone or as part of a team. See here for sign up info.
No matter how you choose to get involved, make Hunger Action Month a time that you look forward to each September to help Chester County Food Bank further our work in the community!
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.
Photos: Chester County Food Bank
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.