United Way’s Bucks Out Hunger supports new mobile pantry

Bucks County Housing Group, which runs both food and housing programs, recently launched a new mobile food pantry to help communities where there is little food assistance and no public transportation.

The mobile pantry recently added a stop in the New Hope parking lot at St. Philips Episcopal Church, bringing its total number of stops to five per week in Bucks County. The New Hope site alone currently serves between 15 and 20 families per week.

“A lot of people think there is no poverty in New Hope, but that’s not true. The people using the new pantry are either recent immigrants who keep our town running or long-time residents who can no longer afford to live here,” says Reverend Michael Ruk of St. Philips. “As a church, we must always reach out to those who are forgotten or in need.”

Bucks County Housing Group’s new mobile pantry will receive support from United Way’s Bucks Knocks Out Hunger this year.

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According to the 2022 Regional Community Health Needs Assessment, a study conducted jointly by all major hospitals and health networks in Bucks County, mobile pantries are a key solution to addressing the social determinants of health.

The study notes that in response to growing hunger and food insecurity – especially among Black and Hispanic/Latino communities – it is essential to “provide services that distribute food directly to people where they live. , especially in neighborhoods where access to healthy foods is limited or non-existent.” ”

The study goes on to say that “Financial challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to increased rates of food insecurity in all counties and a sharp increase in demand for emergency food aid.”

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Lindsay Troyer, food program manager at Bucks County Housing Group, isn’t surprised by the results.

“We understand that rising food prices, combined with lack of transportation, are leaving our most vulnerable neighbors without access to fresh, nutritious food to feed their families,” Troyer said. “The need to continue to develop this program is urgent, as the needs of our neighbors have increased dramatically, and we believe everyone deserves access to more dignified and healthier food.”

This year, Bucks County Housing Group's new mobile pantry will receive support from United Way's Bucks Knocks Out Hunger.

Bucks County Housing Group’s new mobile pantry will receive support from United Way’s Bucks Knocks Out Hunger this year.

“Understanding how crucial the mobile pantry is in terms of food access, we really want to help our partners at Bucks County Housing Group expand the reach of the program,” says Tim Philpot, Director of Impact for the health of United Way of Bucks County.

Philpot, who runs Bucks Knocks Out Hunger, now in its 11th year, says United Way will use part of this year’s proceeds to support mobile food services.

“We are already using portions of Bucks Knocks Out Hunger to help local food pantries, maintain Fresh Connect, our free mobile farmer’s market, and deliver boxes of seniors’ products. It makes sense to provide additional support to expand the service area of ​​the housing group’s mobile pantry,” says Philpot.

To expand service, United Way of Bucks County and Bucks County Housing Group will review census tract data, as well as gaps in existing services, to identify a location that has both high need and low hyperlocal resources.

United Way’s Bucks Knocks Out Hunger campaign is underway and will culminate in a meal prep event on June 16 at the Neshaminy Mall. Through the campaign, the organization hopes to package 100,000 nutrient-dense, shelf-stable meals and raise $100,000 to support local food relief programs.

Individual donations can be made online at www.uwbucks.org/bkohunger or by mailing a check to United Way of Bucks County at 413 Hood Boulevard, Fairless Hills, PA 19030. Please write BKO Hunger in the memo line.

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: United Way’s 2023 Bucks Knocks Out Hunger Helps Mobile Pantry

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