The organization's annual Winter Food Drive collected cash instead of cans in the midst of COVID - and the community showed up to help fight hunger!
Earlier this year, United Way of Franklin County coordinated its annual Winter Food Drive. This year was different with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact our programs and initiatives. To deliver a safe and efficient drive, we decided to collect only monetary donations to support local food pantries.
This was our first time collecting monetary donations for a food drive, and we were not sure what to expect. We focused on messaging to help demonstrate the impact of donating dollars versus cans to a food pantry, including an infographic that went viral locally. We developed awareness campaigns to share how giving money to food pantries allows them to purchase from food banks for better-than-wholesale prices, as well as provides funds for pantries to buy essential perishables that cannot be donated through a can drive. We explained how food insecurity was on the rise as the pandemic continued to impact families in our neighborhoods. We hoped the community would relate to these messages and contribute to the drive.
All we can say is…WOW! We were blown away by the response from community! Over 130 donors raised a total of $26,692 for the Winter Food Drive to support food pantries across Franklin and Fulton counties.
For weeks, our office was flooded with checks and credit card payments. Our small team worked diligently to process the funds and ensure accurate accounting. This is not a new process for us since our annual Community Campaign raises funds to support local programs, but it was the first time we did so for the Winter Food Drive. The magnitude of the response from people wanting to help meet immediate food insecurity needs was a pleasant surprise we were honored to respond to.
Thanks to the generosity of our community, the funds were divided amongst 14 food pantries based on the average number of families they serve per month. Food pantries that benefited include:
Chambersburg Community Food Pantry
Corpus Christi Church Food Pantry
Falling Spring Presbyterian Church Food Pantry
First United Methodist Church Hungry Hearts
Five Forks Church Food Pantry
Fulton County Food Basket
Greencastle Antrim Food Pantry
New Hope Shelter
Pete's Pantry at Salem United Brethren
South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP)*
St. Thomas Food Pantry
Storehouse Community Church Food Pantry
The Pantry at Valley Ministries
Waynesboro Community & Human Services
*SCCAP services five food pantries across Franklin County that will benefit from this donation.
Our Winter Food Drive sponsor, Ventura Foods, covered administrative costs so that the full money raised by community is going directly to local food pantries.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this year's Winter Food Drive. For current opportunities to give back, please check out our volunteer and item donation needs webpage. As always, we welcome anyone interested in getting more involved in community to reach out to our office at 717-262-0015 to get started.
If you find yourself in need of food, please visit the Franklin County Food Resource Map to find resources in your neighborhood. You can also contact PA-211 by dialing 2-1-1, texting your zip code to 898-211, or searching online at pa211.org.