FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank accepts and is grateful for monetary or food donations. A donation of just $1 helps provide six meals to people in need in our communities. Online donations can be made by clicking Give Now. Checks can also be mailed to our office at 3908 Corey Road, Harrisburg, PA 17109.
The Food Bank provides foods to those at risk of hunger through a network of more than 1,000 partner agencies and programs operating throughout our 27-county service area. This network includes food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency food providers, schools, etc. The Food Bank also advocates for public policy that provides nutrition assistance and addresses the root causes of food insecurity.
Food is sourced from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, grocers, growers, processors, the food industry and Feeding America, as well as from food drives. We also source produce through the Mid-Atlantic Regional Cooperative (MARC) and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS). More information on MARC and PASS are available by downloading the following documents.
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank opened its doors in 1982. During our first year of operation, we distributed more than 711,000 pounds of food to a network of 140 agency partners. Today, we average nearly 4 million pounds of food each month, more than 46 million pounds per year, through 1,000 partner agencies and programs. We serve more than 140,000 individuals each month.
Generally, no, but exceptions may be made under emergency situations. If you or someone you know needs emergency food assistance, contact the Food Bank at 717-564-1700 for a pantry referral or click here to access our list of partners. Emergency food programs are listed with phone numbers. Contact the program for more information on days and hours of distribution. Consumers are referred to programs located within the zip code where they live.
Overall, how we work is that food is collected, stored and repackaged at our Healthy Food Hubs in Harrisburg and Williamsport and then distributed to partner agencies that are also 501(c)(3) organizations. These non-profit community programs then either prepare the food to serve it or distribute food to those in need. Non-profit partners may include emergency programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Supplemental food program partners may include youth programs, senior centers or transitional living programs all of whom serve low income individuals who are at risk of hunger.
A food bank solicits, collects, stores, repackages and distributes large quantities of food to direct food service programs. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is a food bank and a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks.
A food pantry provides food directly to those who may not have enough food to eat. Food pantries are an important source of emergency food for the working poor. They often provide other critical resources.
Contact us via email or call our Agency Services Department at 717-564-1700 or 570-321-8023 to see if there is a need for a partner agency in your community.
Food safety is a critical component of our operation. All agency partners must have a minimum of one person (key staff or volunteer working with the food program) who has participated in a food safety curriculum appropriate to the distribution program type, i.e., Meal Service or Food Pantry program.
The Food Bank offers Food Pantry Safety Curriculum on our website under Agencies (located at the top of the page), and coordinates classroom sessions for meal and pantry programs with certified food safety educators. The Food Bank supports nutrition education in partnership with the Penn State Cooperative Extension services located throughout our service territory.
Our Harrisburg Healthy Food Hub serves the following Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry and York.
Our Williamsport Healthy Food Hub serves the following Pennsylvania counties: Bradford, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union.
Need Food Assistance
For safety purposes, the minimum age for volunteering is 12. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Food donations come in all sizes. If you have a few grocery bags or a few small boxes full of food that you’d like to drop off, then you can come to one of our Healthy Food Hubs closest to you. Lobby hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Or feel free to locate one of our partner agencies in your community by clicking here.
Larger-scale donations of food are received through our warehouse. Please call ahead to one of our Healthy Food Hubs closest to you at 717.564.1700 or 570.321.8023 before coming.
If you are a business or other organization that has food donations, please contact our Director of Food Sourcing & Logistics, Beth Hamilton at 717.724.3191 to discuss your items and whether or not we are able accept it.
We are grateful to our friends in the community who hold food drives: they not only generate food – they generate awareness of the terrible problem of hunger in our community.
Food contributed through food drives or individual donations must be nonperishable. The item we distribute the most is peanut butter, always a welcome donation. Protein in various forms is important, and helps us provide a nutritious blend of foods.
Donating food provides a variety of nutritious, quality products for which we are grateful; however, money goes much further. The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank can stretch your dollar through our partnerships with the food industry. In fact, every dollar donated helps us provide 6 meals with nutritious food.
See our becoming a member agency page.