DOWNINGTOWN, PA — The Chester County Food Bank defines food insecurity as “a household that is without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food at any given time.” In Chester County, food insecurity is a reality for around 35,000 of its residents – over 18,000 of them being children.
To help combat these struggles, on January 6, 100 Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) administrators and supervisors assembled over 1,000 snack bags to be donated to the Chester County Food Bank (CCFB).
The snack bags assembled by the CCIU staff are a component of the CCFB’s Weekend Backpack Program, which is used to provide food on the weekends for children and families in need.
“We get requests for snack bags all the time, and they generally are all spoken for within a day of sending out the notice,” said Claudia Rose-Muir, direct distribution and procurement manager at CCFB. “We are most grateful to any and all organizations that are kind enough to pack and provide them to us.”
The snack bags packed by the CCIU administrators and supervisors will be sent to Chester County schools to distribute to students in the free- and reduced-lunch program when there is a weather delay and a student is unable to eat breakfast at home or when a student forgets his or her lunch.
Dr. Danielle Schoeninger, assistant director of human resources at the CCIU, described the importance of projects such as this, “At the CCIU, we believe that serving our community is important for many reasons, especially when it comes to helping the students in Chester County. We learn to lead through an awareness of the world around us and through serving others, which as leaders, we are expected to do every day.”
The CCIU and CCFB have an established partnership through several additional initiatives targeted to help combat local food insecurity. In October 2019, the two organizations opened the Market Club at the Gordon Early Literacy Center in Coatesville, PA. The Market Club is a place where Gordon Early Literacy Center students’ families are able to “shop” at no cost for essential food and household items. The school-run pantry receives donations from CCFB but also relies on supplemental community donations to meet the essentials for the families year-round.
Community members and businesses that are interested in helping are encouraged to donate gift cards, monetary donations or shop the Amazon wish lists online at www.cciu.org/marketclubwishlist. There are three categorical wish lists from which donors can shop that include items to prepare meals, necessary baby products and household essentials.
To donate or volunteer for the Chester County Food Bank, visit https://chestercountyfoodbank.org/donate.
Source: Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU)
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