Food distribution set for Wednesday at The Galleria

Food+distribution+set+for+Wednesday+at+The+Galleria

Callie Burgan, Editor-in-Chief

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will host a drive-up food distribution from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday in the former Bon-Ton parking lot at The Johnstown Galleria in Richland Township.

Beth Burrell, communications senior specialist, said the organization serves an average of 1,000 families per distribution.

So far, the food bank has distributed more than 37 million meals to families and 12 million pounds of fresh produce with the help of 6,000 volunteers.

“We have distributed approximately 391,000 pounds of food to residents of Cambria and surrounding counties in the last seven months,” Burrell said.

“Families receive an average food share of between 50 to 60 pounds, consisting of pantry staple items like pasta, rice and canned vegetables along with fresh produce items and frozen meat. At the last distribution in February, families received 85 pounds each.

“In the wake of the pandemic, the need in Cambria County has increased to 17.4% from 12.8% in 2018.

“Working alongside its network of hunger-relief charities, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is committed to meeting the needs of all of our neighbors facing hunger in Cambria County and across the organization’s entire 11-county service area.”

Food bank distributions manager Jordan Hartman said social distancing guidelines forced the organization to suspend the program and, in its place, start drive-up distributions.

March marks one year since the food bank started hosting mass distribution events because of COVID-19.

“Prior to the pandemic hitting the region in addition to our network of pantries serving Cambria County, our Produce to People program was one of the largest distributions of its kind across 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, low-touch way to get fresh and nutritious foods 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 anyone who is in need of food assistance to reach out to us or go to our website, pittsburghfoodbank.org,” Murray said.

It is required to make an online reservation in advance of the distribution in order to ensure traffic control and an appropriate amount of food.

The drive-up distribution event will provide one share of food per reservation. A single share of food may come in one or more prepacked boxes and/or bags. This method allows distributors to give food while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Everyone can receive food, and there is no required proof of eligibility.

There are no exceptions to one reservation getting one share of food. For one car to get two or three shares of food, the car must have more than one family or household. Each household must complete 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 p.m. Tuesday.

Online reservations for the event can be made at https://www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/get-help/drive-up/reservations.