THE WESTMORELAND COUNTY FOOD BANK KICKS-OFF HUNGER ACTION MONTH AT ANNUAL AWARDS LUNCHEON
On a beautiful day at the beginning of September, over 100 partners of the Westmoreland County Food Bank (WCFB) filed into the Delmont warehouse to help kick-off Hunger Action Month at the annual Partnership Luncheon and Awards event. “This just shows the dedication to the food bank and the people we serve,” stated Kris Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of the Westmoreland County Food Bank about the wonderful attendance to the annual event.
The tradition of the Partnership Luncheon is to recognize partners throughout their network who have demonstrated excellence through their donations, their impact on the community, their ability to encourage and motivate others through their activities, and support the mission and vision of WCFB which is to enable all Westmoreland County residents who are hungry or at risk of hunger to have ready access to food.
This year’s Outstanding Agency was Autumn Brook Summer Feeding Site in Greensburg. Throughout the last five years, Bryan Sager has gone from an 11 year old boy that would “assist” the site supervisor at the Autumn Brook Summer Food Feeding Site by passing out meals and cleaning tables to now the 16 year old young man who is now the site supervisor for the program. “Bubba, as he is affectionately called, does more than make sure the food is served quickly and efficiently. He ensures that the orders are correct, tallies are taken, tables are cleaned, and the food is properly temped and stored,” said Clarissa Amond, Community Outreach Coordinator at the Food Bank. In addition to calling the Food Bank to make adjustments when necessary, he always makes sure his paperwork is turned in neatly and always on time. Not only is he organized, he is wonderful with the children that participate in the program and is truly someone the kids can look up to as a hard working role model.
Bubba is an asset to the program but so is the apartment office and staff that serves as an integral piece to this program working. The apartment office serves as the place the children are welcomed to eat breakfast and lunch. Office managers Dianne and Karen are as invested in the program as Bubba in making sure the children are fed, asking how their day is going, and helping to keep Bubba organized allowing the program to run smoothly. “Autumn Brook is truly the meaning of team work and we at the Westmoreland County Food Bank are extremely fortunate in having them in our community helping to feed children that might not have access to food in the summer months,” continued Ms. Amond.
The award for Outstanding Donor is a bit unique this year. Each month, a gentleman shows up at the food bank and hands them $100 in cash. He never wants to fill out a form telling them how to acknowledge his generosity. He never lets them know his name. “He does this out of the goodness of his heart,” said Kris Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of the Food Bank, “and says that he has been blessed in his life and can’t stand the thought that there are hungry people in his home county.” This selfless act is such an inspiration to all, he doesn’t need a thank you, he just hands them the money and says have a nice day. “It always bothers us that we can’t say but a mere thank you as he walks out the door. This kind man has given the food bank over $1,500 and this is our small way of saying THANK YOU,” Mr. Douglas lamented.
Eight years ago, WCFB awarded the first Partner Award. This award is given to an individual who has exemplified selfless giving not only to the Food Bank, but throughout the community. This award has been given to individuals such as Jennifer Miele, Karen Piper, Clarissa Amond, Senator Kim Ward, Maxine Pellis, Kris Hayes, and Rosemary Spoljarick. This year’s premiere award was presented to Gail Macioce. Ms. Macioce has been a personal donor to the Food Bank since 1999. In 2009, she felt the need to do MORE! Being an amazing singer and having a love of karaoke, Gail came up with “Sing for their Supper”. Each September, in fact it is being held on Saturday, September 26th, Irwin comes together for the hungry, and Gail and the Irwin Business Association put on a great show of support via “Sing for their Supper”. “Since that first show she continues to support the food bank and encourages her fellow Prudential agents to do the same as they are able to apply for matching funds which in fact doubles their donation,” stated last year’s Partner of the Year, Rosemary Spoljarick of West Penn Power. Due to their generosity and Gail’s influence, they, along with Prudential have donated over $9,200, and it doesn’t stop there, Gail recently appeared at this year’s Empty Bowl event in March to provide entertainment for the patrons and she did an amazing job. “For these and so many other reasons I am proud to award Gail Macioce, Partner of the Year” continued Mrs. Spoljarick.
For more information about the Westmoreland County Food Bank, please visit their new and improved website www.westmorelandfoodbank.org or call 724.468.8660.
About Westmoreland County Food Bank
The Westmoreland County Food Bank serves nearly 45,000 area residents each year including 13,500 children and 4,950 seniors. WCFB currently has 66 member agencies in their network of emergency feeding sites. Of those, 44 are food pantries in which low income consumers are able to access emergency food assistance throughout the month. Last year (2014), the Food Bank distributed over 8.6 million pounds of food.
50% of WCFB’s food comes from the federal and state governments and the remaining 50% from local donations, food drives, and Feeding America. Administrative and fundraising costs account for 4% of the Food Bank’s operating budget.