Inside the Second Harvest Food Bank, volunteers are busy sorting, labeling and sending out groceries into the community.
The last fiscal year was one of their biggest to date, where they provided over 10 million pounds of food to those in need.
“Of course, it was the pandemic, and there were so many families that were in need,” said Karen Seggi of Second Harvest Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania. “Unfortunately, we are still in this situation where too many families are struggling, and until that is eliminated, we are going to keep doing our job and making sure our neighbors have something to eat.”
For every dollar that is donated, they can provide about six meals. They also work with local grocery stores and retailers. Last year, they rescued 5.2 million meals that would have otherwise be tossed into the dumpster.
The backbone of the operation is its volunteers.
“Volunteering is extremely important because we have much work to do here,” said Sister Karen Kosin of Second Harvest. “We get a lot of products that need to be relabeled, [and] sorted through. It means more food to more people.”
They also provide special meals for children and the elderly.
“I was a principal at one time,” said volunteer Sharon Kestler. “I saw the need in the kids coming in hungry.”
Jim Renshaw said after he retired 14 years ago, he volunteered his time and land to grow corn.
“Year in, year out, we put a crop in,” Renshaw said. “Some years are great. Some are not so great. But I don’t dare quit now. I think there would be something of a revolt coming out of my house and the Second Harvest.”
This year, he grew 13 thousand pounds of corn. He said some years, it has been over 20,000 pounds.
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