Updated: Jun 7
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Summary: Recent changes with state funding and internal programmatic restructuring have opened doors of opportunity to serve residents of Washington County in new ways. Given the growth and impact the Food Bank has made on the community, the Food Bank has expanded programs added in the past six years not only to serve the hungry but provide in-depth solutions to truly prevent food insecurity. Greater Washington County Food Bank is launching three new food distribution models to help further assist our neighbors in Washington County.
Brownsville, PA (April 21, 2021) – Greater Washington County Food Bank (GWCFB) has been working endlessly towards our mission of the past 35 years during this pandemic – to feed those in Washington County and support our neighbors who need help the most. We are committed to providing the best service, with the freshest non-perishables and fresh food items, and continue to partner with organizations and groups who share our mission.
In the upcoming months, our mission will remain the same, and there will be some changes. While other agencies will oversee the bulk distribution to current Washington County public pantries, Greater Washington County Food Bank is excited to formally announce food support programs in a more localized, direct manner, strengthening the relationship with food insecure residents who may have been underserved in previous food banking models or who live in food deserts. This will ensure an increase in the total number of residents in Washington County being served, especially for those who are unable to attend traditional pantry distributions.
Connie Burd, Executive Director, shared her enthusiasm, “We are reenergized and envisioning a bright future. Our staff is formulating long-term strategic plans designed to address systemic deficits in service profiles for years.” Board President Chris Claspy added, “Greater Washington County Food Bank has a long and proud history serving Washington County. I’m thankful for the tireless work of our staff, volunteers, and supporters which have built a strong organization capable of continuing to serve the Washington County community for the next 35 years and beyond.”
As the Food Bank launches these new food programs, the additional programs currently operating at the Food Bank will elevate their role in the community. In addition to the Food Bank, the 24-acre facility is home to Healthy Habits Training Center, an educational and instructional space complete with a 25-person business center and two instructional kitchen for educational classes on healthy meal preparation. On the end of the facility, Country Thrift Market operates Monday through Saturday, providing a discounted retail shopping experience to the general public, offering gently used clothing, new and used home goods, as well as personal care items up to 90% off retail. Finally, behind the facility, a 20-acre farm, boasting acres of planted row crops such as potatoes, corn, and beans, as well as state-of-the-art hydroponic growing pods, raised garden beds, greenhouse, 90+ tree fruit orchard, and cage-free chickens offer the opportunity to learn to grow one’s own food and caring for food sources.
“A multitude of factors and situational influences leads to food insecurity. Each and every one of our programs at our facility can address those influences and change the trajectory away from falling to food insecurity to help to escape the cycle. It is with excitement and many years of development that we are proud to launch new avenues of serving those who may not have been helped with the traditional food banking model. We recognize that it takes more than simply serving food to help the hungry; we want to provide resources to help remove them from the food-insecure cycle or help prevent residents from succumbing to the battle,” said Justin McAtee, Director of Marketing.
By providing the freshest, local, most nutritious food we can, scheduling educational resources and free classes, offering highly discounted retail options, and engaging in hands-on opportunities for learning to grow one’s on nutritional food, we are able to elevate our organization’s impact in the region to the next level.
Greater Washington County Food Bank is launching three food distribution programs to serve residents of Washington County.
The Short-Term Emergency Program (STEP) will directly help residents who are suffering from recent unemployment or from a short-term medical disability that prevents an individual from earning income. Focusing on weekly and bi-weekly distributions directly to clients, Greater Washington County Food Bank will provide educational resources to assist with their individual circumstances. This 30-day program is designed to help individuals return to a state of normalcy through support, direction, and education during their time of need and avoid succumbing to food insecurity.
The PA Senior Food Box Program will include current CSFP (“Senior Box”) clients, as well as provide opportunities for residents of senior, veteran, or disabled living facilities who cannot attend traditional distributions from other agencies who are low-income over the age of 60.
The Community Outreach Food Program will serve rural and underserved distribution areas, partnering with local farmers to ensure the freshest, most nutritious, highest-quality food is available for distribution. Using the Truck to Trunk model, this public distribution will be available at four locations around Washington County each month, with new guidelines to promote inclusion in these rural areas such as Beallsville, Avella, Prosperity, and Eighty Four. “Fresh, nutritious, and local foods at every opportunity will be guiding principles for the Food Bank moving forward,” says Connie Burd.
The new programs will launch in July/August, as Greater Washington County Food bank will still serve public pantries in May and June. The May distribution schedule for public pantries around Washington County will be released early next week.
About Greater Washington County Food Bank
Greater Washington County Food Bank (GWCFB) is a nonprofit organization that distributed nearly 7.5M pounds of food to citizens in need in Washington County during 2020. GWCFB’s mission is to form lasting solutions for hunger insecurity through effective food distribution systems; to educate and empower the needy in seeking positive lifestyle changes; and, to create awareness through individual and community partnerships. For more details, please visit www.gwcfb.org.