March 10, 2016 (York, Pa.) – Memorial Health Fund, a supporting organization of the York County Community Foundation, has awarded a $250,000 grant to “A Seat at the Table,” a collaborative effort to improve the charitable food system while increasing healthy food access to York County residents in need. The collaborative partnership consists of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, York County Food Bank, Catholic Harvest Food Pantry, New Hope Ministries, and the York County Food Alliance, and was formed in response to the release of the Governor’s Blueprint for a Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.
In York County there is an unmet meal gap of over 4.5 million meals per year, meaning that current efforts are only meeting 49% of the hunger needs of our county. To help close this gap, the grant funds will secure a program manager to gather data to map the healthy food access network and share this information with Feeding America. Feeding America, a nationally recognized source on hunger issues, will then review the findings, conduct analysis, and ultimately make recommendations to provide a two-year scope of work for the collaborative. It will act as a neutral party focused on best practice approaches to close the meal gap.
Additionally, the program is addressing immediate needs by investing in a Pantry Pilot approach with York County charitable food providers to model best practices to implementing healthy eating options to food pantries and consumers. The third part of the program is the initial implementation of capacity and infrastructure improvements so that food providers, youth programs, and nutrition access systems can respond to the recommendations from Feeding America.
“Having access to food is a vital component of the physical health of our community, and it’s shocking to learn that the meal gap is so huge,” said Jack Kay, chair of the Memorial Health Fund Board of Directors. “The Memorial Health Fund is committed to life-changing health philanthropy to perpetuate a legacy of care for York, and by funding this collaborative, we will change the lives of those with insufficient access to healthy food.”
“We’re grateful to the Memorial Health Fund for making this transformational grant, which will place York County first among Pennsylvania counties to address Governor Wolf’s Blueprint for a Hunger-Free PA”, said Joe Arthur, Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “We look forward to working in collaboration with our amazing partners to improve community food security, build on the strong work of the charitable food system, and help people in need in York County lead healthier lives.”