Rising food costs have made providing healthy food options to low-income families difficult, according to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
“Everyone deserves access to good, nutritious food — and enough of it to live healthy, successful lives,” said Joe Arthur, Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “There is a direct correlation between food insecurity and the lack of nutritious food, which increases the risk of negative health outcomes and chronic disease. Having access to healthy food will ultimately strengthen the health of individuals, families, and our communities.”
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is one of the primary food distributors throughout the region. In 2021 it delivered $13 million meals in North Central, Pa., including $3 million pounds of fresh food.
Across the 27 counties in Central Pennsylvania, over 57 million meals have been delivered in 2021, according to the food bank.
“The bigger challenge is in the high price of everything that is putting healthy food out of reach for so many of our neighbors in need,” said Amy B Hill, director of community engagement and advocacy for the food bank. “People who may have been getting by o.k. a few months ago, now may need some help from the food bank.”
In 2021, food prices have increased between 2.5% and 3.5% and prices of food away from home have risen between 4% and 5%.
In 2022, food prices are expected to continue to increase by another 1.5% or 2.5%.
The food bank supplies many of the distribution services throughout the region, including American Rescue Workers.
For ARW, while it has access to food supplies, limited staff are making the holiday season difficult.
“We are short in almost all departments, but we are making do until the right employees come along,” said Kendra Parke, Marketing and Community Engagement Coordinator.
The American Rescue Workers are looking for other non-food supplies, such as razors, shaving cream, new pillows, and underwear for the shelter residents, according to Parke.
Below are the the various food distribution centers in Lycoming County:
- Wings of Love Community Church – Food Distribution Center – South Williamsport
- American Rescue Workers Service Center – Williamsport
- The Love Center – Jersey Shore