Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, my husband and several members of his church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in Harrisburg, PA went to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank (https://www.centralpafoodbank.org/) to offer whatever help they could. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is a subsidiary of Feeding America (https://www.feedingamerica.org/) and Feeding Pennsylvania (https://www.feedingpa.org/). It currently serves 27 counties in the Pennsylvania area. Their goal is to provide enough food by 2025 for everyone struggling with hunger in each of these counties. One in ten Central Pennsylvanians, including one in six children is in a food insecure situation. Working with various agencies and programs, they are able to serve 135,000 people a month.
My husband was absolutely astonished at the size and scope of this operation. Volunteers sort and pack food, inspecting it to ensure it is suitable for distribution, and pack it up in boxes for distribution in food pantries, senior centers, backpacks and military programs.
A $1 donation can provide 6 meals to families in need. Not all families in need qualify for Federal Aid, also many of the recipients are the “working poor”, who are unable to support themselves and their families on their wages and salaries. Some people have no health benefits, forcing them to use their income to cover this need, thus leaving less money available for necessities. One surprising fact that my husband discovered was that it is way more cost efficient to donate money, whether to Feeding America or directly to your food bank than to donate food in their various collection bins. To collect and make food available, the food bank has to have a fleet of trucks, service and maintain them and pay for fuel to drive around to collect these donations to be bundled in the food banks. When Feeding America or the area food bank deals in cash, they are able to purchase large quantities of food for those who need it. He also discovered that most donations come in during November and December (not surprisingly). The need for donations and volunteers is great all year long. During this pandemic emergency, supplies are going to be stretched very thin. More and more people will be in need. Since we are all under quarantine, we can log onto these websites and make a cash contribution. If you don’t feel comfortable transacting business online, just send them a check. One thing we have been trying to do during this Lent is to eat simpler meals and donate the money to feed the hungry. It’s actually very easy to do. Last night we made a delicious meal using the ingredients that we already on hand, and it was very tasty. In fact, we all agreed to make this again in the future.
Well, I hope this finds you safe and sound during this time. This is a good time to just settle in, touch base with our loved ones and find new appreciation in what we have. Please take care and stay safe.
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean that you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results may come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” Mahatma Gandhi