Hundreds come together to pack meals for the hungry

ANNE REINER/On the PULSE Volunteers work to pack more than 1,000 meal kits at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank meal packing event at Lycoming College Monday morning.

An act of love and a call for community engagement brought more than 200 people together to pack meal kits Monday morning.

“We always wanted to help reach out to the community,” said Liling Carothers, of Williamsport, who came to pack food with her son, Bryan, and daughter, Sarah.

ANNE REINER/On the PULSE Liling Carothers, of Williamsport, holds her son Bryan, center, on her lap as her daughter Sarah, left, looks on and Damian Schreyer, son of Maria Schreyer, of Williamsport, leans in to examine a pile of beans during an activity at the More than a Meal food packing event at Lycoming College Monday morning. The activity called volunteers to work through a scene in which they determine how to budget for a family with only a “15-bean budget.”

The More Than a Meal food packing event, led by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and held at Lycoming College, boasted over 1,000 meal kits and 500 backpacks stuffed with food, according to Joe Arthur, executive director of the food bank.

ANNE REINER/On the PULSE Apples are a healthy option in the roughly 500 backpacks filled with meals during Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s meal packing event at Lycoming College Monday morning.

An additional 1,000 bags of apples were filled to supply the local food bank.

Apples are one of the ways the food bank is “fighting hunger with healthy meals,” Arthur said. The apples were used in the backpacks for kids, and the meal kits were filled with ground turkey chili and whole wheat pasta.

The meals stay local, Arthur said, adding that one in nine people in Lycoming County struggles with hunger, a number similar to the state average. A third of those are children.

Hunger affects the “folks we know every day,” Arthur said. Six in 10 are working families.

The event was held in in partnership with Pennsylvania College of Technology, the Beloved Community Council and Step Americorps.

“Partnerships are critical” when it comes to bringing a community together, Arthur said.  

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