55,000 lives changed. A 4-million-pound gap filled. Hunger eradicated.
In York County, we are passionate about providing for those who struggle with hunger.
The report, “A Seat at the Table: Evaluating the Charitable Food System in York County, Pennsylvania,” is aimed at helping York County become hunger free with a recommended approach for every provider and stakeholder in the system to address gaps in accessibility, transportation and nutritious food options.
Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.
In York County, more than 100 charitable food distribution programs exist and work hard to meet the needs of more than 55,000 people facing food insecurity, which requires 11.6 million pounds of food each year. However, many factors contribute to a significant gap in available resources, which means many still do not have access to nutritious food. This report focuses on further defining the need versus current resource allocation.
Our project partners are:
- Catholic Harvest Food Pantry
- Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
- New Hope Ministries
- York County Food Alliance
- York County Community Foundation (funding via its Memorial Health Fund)
A third-party expert, the Food Trust, collected and analyzed data to produce the report, reviewing data from sources including Feeding America, the American Community Survey, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, the York County Food Bank, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a survey distributed to the county’s charitable food providers. Analyzers evaluated each zip code by number of food insecure individuals, pounds of food needed per food insecure person per year, pounds distributed annually by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and the York County Food Bank and the pounds of food needed in each zip code.
Recommendations in the report are many. It will take the dedication from several stakeholder groups to bring these recommendations to fruition, including food banks and pantries, food system advocates, community partners, funders and policymakers.
We need to work together to re-align our efforts, because food is not distributed to areas most in need.
- Extended or weekend hours at food pantries
- Nutritious foods offered following the national standard “Foods to Encourage” list
- Enabling client choice at food providers
- Sourcing food from local and regional food banks instead of purchasing retail at stores
- Facilitating alternative distribution models such as mobile pantries and pop-up markets
- Investigating the potential for improved distribution points near transit routes
- Leveraging ongoing training and support to collaborate county-wide
- Maintaining an online “food finder” database so those struggling with hunger can easily access services
- Developing a referral program so the food insecure can sign up at their local food provider for SNAP, WIC and school meal programs
- Encouraging existing retailers and farmer’s markets to become SNAP-authorized
How YOU Can Help
The complexity of food insecurity requires more than just charitable food partnerships, it requires true collaboration from everyone.
Find out how you can help at these links:
- View maps of food insecurity needs and distribution coverage to see if your community needs assistance to re-align food distribution (include link to our site, where the full report is available, centralpafoodbank.org/satt)
- Contact your legislator to share the importance of this initiative
- Find your local charitable food provider
- Donate to the cause – link to your own donation page
- Learn how you can volunteer – link to your own volunteer or information page
- Get in touch with Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, spearheading the initiative, link to our page www.centralpafoodbank.org
Thank you for your support as we step forward on this worthy initiative!