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Central Penn Food Bank: Fighting Hunger in Central Pennsylvania

By Hafsa Binte Omar

Hunger is a pressing issue that affects millions of people around the world, and the Central Penn Food Bank is doing its part to help alleviate this problem in Central Pennsylvania. Since its founding in 1982, the food bank has provided meals to countless individuals and families who are struggling to put food on the table.

Central Penn Food Bank: Fighting Hunger in Central Pennsylvania

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Central Penn Food Bank and explore how it works, who it serves, and what you can do to support its mission of fighting hunger.

What Is the Central Penn Food Bank?

The Central Penn Food Bank is a non-profit organization that partners with more than 1,000 agencies throughout 27 counties in central Pennsylvania. These agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other organizations that provide meals to those in need.

The food bank’s mission is simple but powerful: "To reduce hunger in central Pennsylvania by providing access to nutritious food." The organization accomplishes this by distributing donated and purchased food through its network of partner agencies.

How Does It Work?

The Central Penn Food Bank sources its food from a variety of places. Some of it comes from local grocery stores or restaurants that have excess stock or unsold items. Other donations come from individuals or community groups who organize food drives or fundraising events.

The food bank also purchases certain items to supplement its donations. These may include fresh produce or other perishable foods that are not often donated but are essential for a healthy diet.

Once the food arrives at the central warehouse in Harrisburg, it is inspected for quality and then sorted into categories such as canned goods, dry goods, meat and poultry products, dairy products, and fresh produce. The inventory is then stored on pallets until it’s time for distribution.

Partner agencies place their orders online through a secure portal and schedule a pick-up time for their allotted amount of food. Once their order is ready, they send a truck to the food bank’s warehouse to load up the pallets of food and take it back to their own facility for distribution.

Who Does It Serve?

The Central Penn Food Bank serves a diverse population of individuals and families throughout central Pennsylvania. These are people who are at risk of going hungry due to a variety of factors such as job loss, illness, disability, or simply not earning enough to make ends meet.

In fact, the need for food assistance in central Pennsylvania is significant. According to Feeding America’s "Map the Meal Gap" report, approximately 230,000 people in the region are considered food insecure. This means they lack access to sufficient nutritious food on a regular basis.

The Central Penn Food Bank provides meals to anyone who needs them, regardless of age or background. However, certain groups may be more likely to rely on its services than others. For example, children from low-income families may receive free or reduced-price meals at school but still struggle with hunger on weekends or during summer vacation when school is out.

Similarly, seniors living on fixed incomes may have difficulty affording healthy foods or accessing transportation to grocery stores. The Central Penn Food Bank ensures that these vulnerable populations have access to nutritious meals at all times.

How Can You Help?

If you’re interested in supporting the Central Penn Food Bank’s mission of reducing hunger in central Pennsylvania, there are several ways you can get involved:

  • Donate funds: Monetary donations are always appreciated as they allow the food bank to purchase fresh produce and other essential items that may be lacking in donated stock.
  • Volunteer your time: The food bank relies heavily on volunteers to sort and pack donated items, assist with events or fundraisers, and help with administrative tasks.
  • Organize a food drive: Collect non-perishable food items from your community or workplace and donate them directly to the Central Penn Food Bank.
  • Spread the word: The more people know about the Central Penn Food Bank and its mission, the more likely they are to get involved or seek assistance if needed.

You can learn more about these opportunities and more on the food bank’s website.


The Central Penn Food Bank is a vital organization that plays a crucial role in reducing hunger in central Pennsylvania. Through its network of partner agencies, it provides nutritious meals to individuals and families who may otherwise go without.

By donating funds or time, organizing a food drive, or simply spreading the word about its mission, you can help support the important work of the Central Penn Food Bank and ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy food.


What is the mission of Central Penn Food Bank?

The mission of Central Penn Food Bank is to alleviate hunger and food insecurity in Central Pennsylvania by providing access to nutritious food and engaging the community in the fight against hunger.

How does Central Penn Food Bank get food?

They get food from a variety of sources, including donations from individuals, businesses, and farmers, as well as partnerships with grocery stores and food distributors. They also receive government commodities and purchase some items at reduced rates.

Who does Central Penn Food Bank help?

They provide food assistance to individuals and families in need throughout 27 counties in Central Pennsylvania, including seniors on fixed incomes, children who rely on school meals, veterans, people with disabilities, and those experiencing job loss or other financial hardships.

How can someone receive assistance from Central Penn Food Bank?

Individuals can connect with local agencies that partner with the food bank for assistance or attend a mobile pantry distribution. They must only meet income eligibility guidelines based on family size an income guidelines established by Feeding America.

Can anyone donate to Central Penn Food Bank?

Yes! Anyone can make a donation to support their work fighting hunger in Central Pennsylvania. Donations can be made online or by contacting the development department. For every $1 donated they are able to distribute six meals into their communities.

How many pounds of food has Central Penn Food Bank distributed so far?

The amount varies each month but they have been distributing millions of pounds of food annually resulting in providing thousands of meals per day throughout its service area.

Why is it important to support Central Penn Food Bank?

Supporting the work of this organization means helping your neighbors in need and ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious food. A strong community is one where everyone has enough to eat, and Central Penn Food Bank plays an important role in achieving that goal.

How does Central Penn Food Bank tackle the issue of food waste?

The organization works with grocery stores, farmers, and other partners to rescue food that would otherwise go to waste due to surplus or imperfect produce. This approach not only provides nutritious meals for those in need but also reduces environmental impact.

What are some long-term goals for Central Penn Food Bank?

One of their long-term goals is ensuring that all residents of central Pennsylvania have consistent access to sufficient quantities of healthy foods through both emergency assistance channels and proactive measures (e.g., educational programs). They also aim to reduce the number of people living in poverty and increase knowledge on nutrition education within their service area.


Hafsa Binte Omar

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