WILLIAMSPORT – Hundreds from the community gathered together for a day of food packing for those in need.
“It was just so enlightening to see how many people want to dedicate their Monday, (MLK Day) a day off of work, to helping other people,” said Katherine Downes, a junior at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
It’s the second year for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s Pack and Share event and the level of community participation nearly doubled. Over 400 packers showed up to help, said Carla Fischer, marketing and communications coordinator.
In total, 2,250 meal kits were made and 1,500 backpacks were filled. The backpacks will go directly to schools throughout the region to help with school meal programs.
The meal kits will be distributed to families in Clinton, Tioga, Lycoming and Northumberland counties, while the backpacks will go to schools in Sullivan, Lycoming, Center and Clinton counties.
The Food Bank plans to send a lot of the backpacks to schools that are just starting their student meals programs as a way to get them started with enough resources, according to Pam Hicks, programs manager for the Food Bank.
The Food Bank works with many local partners to put on the food packing event, such as STEP, Inc., Lycoming College and Penn College.
“I met a lot of people in the community who I never thought I would meet. A lot of boy scouts, girls scouts and people from all over,” said David Eaton, a sophomore at Penn College.
Across the county, 37 million people struggle with hunger, and 11 million of them are children.
Providing healthy food options is very important, so a number of produce options were available during the packing event. In addition, the locations selected to distribute the food were based both on the level of need as well as location so that the food could be distributed as fast as possible while the produce would still be in good condition, Hicks said.