Valley Forge Tourism Board hosting first Freedom from Hunger spring drive

UPPER MERION — The Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board has launched a Freedom from Hunger Spring Food Drive, running throughout the month of March.

The exclusively online fundraising event aims to build on the success of the tourism board’s annual fall food drive — and supports Montgomery County food pantry and soup kitchen efforts to replenish their stock as the summer months approach.

The fundraiser will continue to raise awareness about hunger in Montgomery County and the increased need due to the continued impact of inflation, and the availability of less financial aid, according to a press release.

This spring food drive will not replace the fall effort, the agency said. The ninth annual Freedom from Hunger Food Drive will be held later this year.

As it has in past years for the fall events, the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board is partnering with the MontCo Anti-Hunger Network), a coalition of hunger relief organizations “working together to keep families stable with food assistance.” MAHN provides resources to nearly 70 food pantries and soup kitchens that feed those who are food insecure in the county.

According to Amanda Musselman, executive director of MAHN, donations in the spring are “remarkably low.” In addition, 70% of the network MAHN serves continues to see a sustained increase in need.

Musselman pointed to the Ardmore Food Pantry at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on the Main Line as an example. The food pantry went from serving 85 households a week in July 2022 to currently serving 120 households.

“The highest volume of food donations comes into the pantries and soup kitchens during the holidays but then fades as the new year begins,” Musselman said in a statement. “The start of 2023 is particularly challenging. As we move toward the summer months, pantries are additionally utilized as many children lose access to daily meals at school.

“Hunger doesn’t take a spring or summer vacation, and neither can we.”

During 2022, MAHN experienced increases in transportation costs (up 85%), food costs (up 12%), and a decrease in individual donations (down 5%).

Despite those challenges, the organization distributed 417,000 pounds in donated food, for more than 184,000 meals/household visits, according to the release.

Starting this month, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient households will no longer receive the Emergency Allotment (EA) additional payment created during the COVID-19 public health emergency and will resume receiving one SNAP payment per month. That change is due to the passage of the recent federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

Musselman said the program has been a “critical safety net” for many throughout the pandemic.

“Our local food assistance programs need immediate support as they prepare to meet this anticipated additional need,” Musselman added.

Monetary donations, rather than donations of products, provide the greatest flexibility in combating hunger because they allow MAHN to purchase food wholesale. As a result, the network is able to save from $1 to $3 per pound, while immediately responding to critical needs.

“We’re asking for everyone that is able — including other businesses — to step up and give anything they can because there are so many in need,” Mike Bowman, president and CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, said in a statement. “As leaders, it’s our responsibility to take care of each other. These are our friends, our neighbors, our families, our children, and every dollar counts.”

The Freedom from Hunger Food Drive was launched in 2015 as a farewell pledge to Pope Francis, who stayed in Montgomery County at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The event has grown each year and has so far collected more than 132,000 pounds of food to feed the hungry across Montgomery County. Since 2020, the drive has been held exclusively online, rather than by physically collecting food.

To make a donation to the Freedom from Hunger spring campaign visit

Montgomery County residents that need assistance can view the list of MAHN’s food pantries and soup kitchens by visiting:

Source link

Related posts

Agriculture Secretary Redding holds industry roundtable at To-Jo Mushrooms


Target to invest $100 million in sorting centers that make order delivery faster, cheaper


France goes to the polls as Macron battles left in key parliamentary elections


Leave a Comment