Partners involved in the Seat at the Table report, with Pennsylvania First Lady Frances Wolf.  From left to right:  Joe Anne Ward-Cottrell, York County Food Alliance; Jennifer Powell, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank; Jennifer Brillhart, York County Food Bank; Joe Arthur, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank; Pennsylvania First Lady Frances Wolf; Kris Pollick, Catholic Harvest Food Pantry; Lise Levin, York County Community Foundation

YORK, Pa. – Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, in partnership with several York-area food-based nonprofits and the York County Community Foundation’s Memorial Health Fund, released a report on Friday, June 21, 2019, depicting gaps in food distribution within York County.

Pennsylvania’s First Lady Frances Wolf, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, along with Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s Executive Director Joe Arthur, and others, introduced the report’s findings and recommendations.

“Alleviating hunger in Pennsylvania has long been a personal priority for my husband Tom and me – and studies such as ‘A Seat at the Table’ are critical to informing our understanding of this systemic issue,” said First Lady Frances Wolf. “The Wolf Administration will continue to invest in and support programs that reduce hunger and empower Pennsylvanians in need. We look forward to our ongoing work with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and other partners in this most important mission.”

“No one should have to wonder if they’ll be able to feed their children,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said. “The ‘Seat at the Table’ report is a major step forward to help the more than 55,000 York County residents who go hungry each day. I applaud the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank for its work to serve our neighbors in need.”

Titled “A Seat at the Table: Evaluating the Charitable Food System in York County, Pennsylvania,” the report aligns with Gov. Wolf’s report “Setting the Table: A Blue Print for a Hunger Free PA,” which identifies strategies to close the meal gap with nutritious food and features a goal to end hunger by 2020.

“Addressing food insecurity and increasing access to fresh, nutrient-dense foods requires collaboration from all levels of government and our community partners,” Secretary Miller said. “This report is an opportunity to build on this work and identify what more can be done to ensure that no Pennsylvanian needs to worry about where they will get their next meal.”

The goal of the report is to help York County’s food insecure become hunger-free with the right systemic strategy to address gaps in accessibility, transportation and nutritious food options. Central Pennsylvania Food Bank partnered with Catholic Harvest Food Pantry, New Hope Ministries, the York County Food Alliance and the York County Food Bank. The York County Community Foundation’s Memorial Health Fund provided a grant to fund the report development, and The Food Trust completed the data collection and analysis.

Central Pennsylvania Food Bank will be leading discussions, holding listening sessions and helping the more than 100 food providers across York County to put in place recommendations from the report. The recommendations include sourcing food from the national standard “Foods to Encourage” list; engaging with schools in areas of high need and no charitable food providers to partner around feeding children and their families; and maintaining a central “food finder” so those struggling with hunger can easily access services.

“These findings can change the lives of thousands in York County,” said Arthur. “With the support of many volunteers and community stakeholders, we can strategically approach the needs of the food insecure and use those best practices in neighboring counties throughout Central Pennsylvania.”

The report includes visual maps with zip-code specific data to showcase areas of high need and levels of food distribution. The Food Trust used data from sources including Feeding America, the American Community Survey, the York County Food Bank, the U. S. Department of Agriculture and a survey distributed to York County charitable food providers.

“Our mission is to transform the way our community addresses compelling health issues, like food insecurity, and improve the complete physical, mental and social well-being of the residents of York and its surrounding communities,” said Chloé Eichelberger, board chair of the Memorial Health Fund. “We’re excited to see our community leaders and stakeholders come together with the findings from this report to continue to make a difference in York County.”

The full report can be viewed at www.centralpafoodbank.org/satt.

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About Central Pennsylvania Food Bank

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce hunger in 27 counties across Pennsylvania. By working with more than 1,000 local agencies and partner programs, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank serves nearly 140,000 people in need every month. For more information on the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and its mission to reduce hunger in Pennsylvania, visit centralpafoodbank.org or call 717-564-1700.