Archive

ShareThis Page
Westmoreland food bank pulls from Christmas, 2015 funds to cover Thanksgiving needs | TribLIVE.com
Murrysville

Westmoreland food bank pulls from Christmas, 2015 funds to cover Thanksgiving needs

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, November 5, 2014 9:00 p.m

Westmoreland County Food Bank officials are hoping for some timely monetary donations and a milder-than-expected winter.

The Delmont-based food bank — which supplies 44 local area food pantries and an additional 22 member agencies — is in the midst of its most severe shortage in nearly a decade, officials say.

“Based on fundraising, we’re probably about $75,000 down from (this time) last year,” food bank development director Jennifer Miller said.

In addition, an anticipated U.S. Department of Agriculture delivery of four truckloads of turkeys for Thanksgiving meal distribution was cut by half. Food bank officials are using money that normally would be reserved for the Christmas season and the coming year to supplement the Thanksgiving provisions.

“We’re hoping donations this month will help us when the holidays come around next month,” Miller said.

That’s not the only challenge the food bank has been dealing with. Last winter’s frigid weather wreaked havoc on the food bank’s vehicle fleet, even vehicles purchased as recently as 2010.

“They required a lot of maintenance,” Miller said of the fleet. “That’s something we do budget for on an annual basis, but (costs) ran over. The outlook for this winter is a little better, but not much, so we’re hoping it will work out (in 2015).”

In the meantime, officials are looking at the possibility of reducing the quantity of food in the boxes provided to food bank clients. It’s a step no one at the agency is taking lightly.

“We were always in the habit of giving away two pounds of macaroni and two jars of spaghetti sauce, and this year, it will probably be one pound and one jar,” Miller said. “In order for us to continue giving food to more people, we’re feeding more people using less money, and unfortunately, the food boxes are what end up taking the hit.

“That’s not something we want to do.”

A 2014 study by Feeding America, a U.S. hunger-relief charity, and the food bank showed that one in seven Westmoreland County residents turn to food pantries and meal-service programs during the course of a year: that extrapolates to about 45,000 people.

Clients visit a food pantry an average of six times per year, officials said. In 2013, the food bank distributed more than 7 million pounds of food.

Miller said prospective donors can give with the confidence of knowing their money will be well spent.

“For every dollar that’s donated, we’re able to leverage that money better than anyone and actually buy $5 worth of food,” Miller said. “Ninety-five percent of every dollar goes right back out to the community.”

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2365 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.