This year, food insecurity across the Commonwealth has reached new heights. Thankfully, the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank has been a constant ally of the residents of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wayne, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties. These communities are a part of our home, and we feel honored to help with their efforts to end hunger.
On October 8, we arranged for a tour of two facilities currently being used by the Food Bank for storage and sorting. Congressman Fred Keller was in town, so we brought him and his two assistants along. The determination and dedication of the volunteers in the sorting facility that day was inspiring. Additionally, the size of the 50,000 square foot warehouse was nearly overwhelming.
Gene Brady, the Food Bank’s Chief Executive, welcomed us at the temporary sorting facility in a former retail center. Operations moved there in April to allow more space for safe distancing. Rob Mericle, the driving force behind the state’s largest industrial park, donated the use of the former store.
The girls softball team from Marywood University made up the core of the volunteers that day. Gene told us that one team member looked into the opportunity for picking up some public service credits. When she told her teammates what she planned to do, they all jumped on board with her.
“That’s how it works,” Gene said of the infectious spirit of helping others. In addition to the volunteers and devoted staff members, Gene expressed his gratitude for Cabot’s annual contribution of about $250,000. This donation helps with the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), Fill a Glass With Hope and Hunters Sharing the Harvest. All of these programs work toward reducing food insecurity.
According to Gene, one in 10 families in Pennsylvania have or will experience food crises this year, and more than 15 percent of children in the state are impacted by hunger. Through the Weinberg Food Bank, Cabot can make an impact in the community and help end hunger in Pennsylvania.
Congressman Keller learned that more than $30,000 in donations per year goes to buying produce from farmers in the 12th District. He applauded the business model set by the Food Bank.
After a warehouse tour by Site Director Rich Kutz, Keller said, “Having been poor when I was young, it’s gratifying to see so many people caring enough to do something about it.”