Bucks Knocks Out Hunger Volunteers Pack Record Number of Meals for Local Families

June 23rd, 2016

Over 600 volunteers came out to pack meals.

Over 600 volunteers came out to pack meals.

United Way of Bucks County hosted  its fourth annual Bucks Knocks Out Hunger on Friday, June 17 at Delaware Valley University. Bucks Knocks Out Hunger seeks to eliminate hunger and food insecurity and increase access to nutritious foods for low-income children, families, and seniors.

An estimated 600 volunteers gathered in Moumgis Auditorium to pack a record number of nutritionally enhanced meals consisting of dry pasta with tomato basil sauce and rice and beans. Within three hours, volunteers assembled a record 101,400 shelf-stable meals – about 1,000 more than previous years – that were immediately distributed to Bucks County Opportunity Council’s network of 27 food pantries and 6 senior centers.

In addition to meal packaging, volunteers tended the gardens of Delaware Valley University’s Hope of the Harvest, a three and a half acre charitable farm. Together with Rolling Harvest Food Rescue, Hope of the Harvest will provide over 54,000 lbs of fresh fruits and vegetables to local pantries.

“Every year, the team at Penn Community Bank looks forward to this event and this year was no different,” said Jessica Sweeney, Vice President & Marketing Manager at  Penn Community Bank. “With the sing along music, team building and the level of excitement that surrounds you it was truly a feel-good moment,” said Sweeney. She added that it feels good to know that people right in Bucks County are being helped.

Connie and Scott Kehs from Doylestown were eager to volunteer again this year.  The Kehs have been volunteering at Bucks Knocks Out Hunger for the last three years. “We received an email and signed up right away,” explained Connie. “It’s something fun to do that is helping the community.  It’s a wonderful way to stay involved.”

Stephanie from Doylestown brought her kids to BKO Hunger to pack meals for food insecure families in Bucks County.

Stephanie from Doylestown brought her kids to BKO Hunger to pack meals for food insecure families in Bucks County.

BKO goes head to head with hunger.

Hunger is a growing need in Bucks County. About  1 in 10 Bucks County residents and 16% of children are food insecure. Bucks County is also one of only 115 counties nation-wide where the majority of hungry people are not eligible for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) or other public assistance programs. They are working families with incomes that are considered too high to receive help, but their incomes are also too low to meet basic needs. About 57% of the people in our community who experience hunger are caught in this gap.

BKO Hunger has raised $61,000. It still needs $9,000 to provide items that the community needs such as lean protein, milk, and eggs. These items are important for food pantries, but rarely donated.

Remaining funds will be invested in a plan developed by a “Community Solutions Team” focused on hunger relief. That team has been tasked with developing an innovative and scalable plan to meet the needs of those who are hungry or food insecure in Bucks County.

Volunteers of all ages packed and boxed meals at Bucks Knocks Out Hunger.

Volunteers of all ages packed and boxed meals at Bucks Knocks Out Hunger.

You can still help.

Donations from the public are crucial to the success of this project, and gifts of all sizes make a difference. Donations can be made online at www.uwbucks.org/bkohunger, dropped off at any Penn Community Bank, or mailed to the UW Bucks office (413 Hood Blvd, Fairless Hills, PA 19030) with the subject line “BKO Hunger.”

Penn Community Bank is the lead sponsor of Bucks Knocks Out Hunger. Other local sponsors include Anthony & Sylvan Pools, BB&T Bank, Bucks County Women’s Initiative, Comcast, Corporate Visions, Depend, Dow, GE Water & Process Technologies, Parx Casino, PECO, and Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church (New Hope). Calkins Media, including The Bucks County Courier Times and Intelligencer, serve as the official “fight promoters” for BKO Hunger.

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