The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank today announced a $25,000 grant from Morgan Stanley to fund its BackPack Program, a child hunger initiative that helps to make sure kids are fed when they aren't in school.
The local award is the latest phase of Fill the Plate, Morgan Stanley’s long-standing partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity. In total, Morgan Stanley has committed more than $13 million for the Feeding America network to distribute millions of meals to children and families across all 50 states. As part of that initiative, Morgan Stanley will award more than $1 million each year for the next four years to local food banks like the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank to launch, expand and sustain critical childhood feeding programs.
“We are thrilled to receive this important grant from Morgan Stanley to fund our efforts to deliver more nutritious meals to children and families,” said Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Executive Director Joe Arthur. “What’s extraordinary and groundbreaking about this award is that we were able to choose how to use the funds in a way that best matches the nutritional health needs of the community.”
Mountain Lion BackPack Program of Altoona, a community partner of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, will be the recipient of Morgan Stanley’s funding. Mountain Lion BackPack Program works by putting nutritious food directly into the hands of children at risk of hunger by filling backpacks with staples such as peanut butter, milk and cereal, bread, and canned goods. With this program, kids who usually get reduced or free lunch at school can get the nutrition they need even when they aren’t in school over weekend or long breaks.
“Giving back to the communities where we live and work is one of Morgan Stanley’s core values,” Rich Franchella, Managing Director, Complex Manager, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Allentown. “We are proud of our Firm’s grant to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, especially since so many of us are also long-time volunteers at this important community organization.”
Nationwide, child hunger is a critical problem. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, nearly 16 million children in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. Feeding America’s most recent Map the Meal Gap research indicates more than one in five children in Pennsylvania, and 36 other states and Washington D.C., do not have access to enough nutritious food to learn, grown and thrive.