March 5 – The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is hosting a drive-up food distribution on Wednesday from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM in the former Bon Ton parking lot in the Johnstown Galleria in Richland Township.
Beth Burrell, senior communications specialist, said the organization serves an average of 1,000 families per distribution.
So far, with the help of 6,000 volunteers, the food bank has distributed more than 37 million meals to families and 12 million pounds of fresh produce.
“We have distributed approximately 391,000 pounds of food to residents of Cambria and the surrounding counties in the past seven months,” Burrell said.
“Families receive an average food share of between 50 and 60 pounds, made up of staple foods such as pasta, rice and canned vegetables, as well as fresh produce and frozen meat. The families received 85 pounds each at the last distribution in February.
“After the pandemic, needs in Cambria County increased from 12.8% in 2018 to 17.4%.
“The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank works with its network of hunger relief charities and is committed to meeting the needs of all of our neighbors who are starving in Cambria County and throughout the organization’s 11 county service area.”
Jordan Hartman, sales director for food banks, said social distancing guidelines forced the organization to suspend the program and start drive-up distributions instead.
March marks a year since the food bank began hosting mass distribution events due to COVID-19.
“Prior to the pandemic in the area, our Produce to People program, along with our network of pantries for Cambria County, was one of the largest distributions of its kind in the country, serving 1,000 people a month,” Hartman said.
Melissa Murray, communications and public relations specialist, said the Food Bank’s drive-up food distributions are a great way to bring fresh and nutritious food to individuals and families who need it most.
“We are grateful to be able to serve Johnstown and the surrounding communities in this way. We also encourage those in need of food aid to contact us or visit our website at pittsburghfoodbank.org,” said Murray.
It is required to make an online reservation prior to distribution to ensure traffic control and an adequate amount of food.
The drive-up distribution event offers a portion of groceries per reservation. A single part of the food can be delivered in one or more prepackaged boxes and / or bags. This method allows vendors to give groceries while following social distancing guidelines.
Anyone can get food and there is no required proof of eligibility.
There are no exceptions when a reservation receives a portion of food. In order for a car to receive two or three portions of food, the car must have more than one family or household. Each household must make a separate reservation. The same car and license plate can be used up to three times for the same event.
Reservations are due by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
Online reservations for the event can be made at https://www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/get-help/drive-up/reservations.
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