The Southern Berks News
117 Morgan Drive, Reading, PA 19608 610-926-5802, www.helpingharvest.org
For nearly 40 years, Helping Harvest Fresh Food Bank has served those in need in our community by supplying food to the charitable programs that feed the hungry in Berks and Schuylkill counties. From our Spring Township distribution center, we expect to deliver 8.5 million pounds of food in 2021 to the 320 charitable food programs we support: food pantries; meal and snack programs; emergency shelters; after-school programs; senior programs; and our Mobile Markets. This food will nourish more than 100,000 of our neighbors in need.
In response to the growing need in our community, which was heightened with the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020, Helping Harvest continues to expand its direct distribution programs. Our Mobile Markets, a farmers market style distribution of fresh and frozen perishable foods, now has 21 monthly distributions at sites across our two counties. The Weekender Program, which sends in-need students home with a bag of non-perishable foods every Friday, now serves more than 1,800 kids a week at 34 elementary and middle schools in 19 school districts. More than 1,800 low-income seniors now receive a box of food monthly from Helping Harvest as part of the Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program.
To best nourish our community in the future, Helping Harvest is currently undergoing an expansion of our onsite cold storage. Once construction is complete, the two new storage units (both of which can serve as a freezer or refrigerator) will increase our onsite cold storage by 50%, allowing us to store up-to 250,000 more pounds of the healthiest foods produce, meats and dairy items - at any given time.
To continue to further our mission, in 2022 we anticipate undergoing an office expansion which will afford us space for the staff necessary to further expand impactful programs.
To support our work in the community, please make an online donation at HelpingHarvest.org. Volunteers are also critically needed. Learn more and register at HelpingHarvest. org/Volunteer. Follow our updates on Facebook @HelpingHarvestOrg.