Program will be held solely online with a goal of 60,000 pounds of food to get to a lifetime of 224,000
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) kicked off its 9th Annual Fall Valley Forge Freedom from Hunger Food Drive with Philadelphia Eagles’ cornerback, Darius Slay, and a gourmet cookout of burgers, hot dogs, and Merrymead Farm ice cream to more than 100 guests at Cecil & Grace Bean’s Soup Kitchen in Norristown.
The fall food drive will run through Oct. 31 to continue to build awareness around the increased need in Montgomery County due to the impact of the rising cost of food, which jumped more than 10% over the last year. This fall’s fundraiser – once again held exclusively online – has a goal of collecting 60,000 pounds of food through the fall to support local food pantries and soup kitchens struggling to feed more in the community with fewer funds, and to get to a lifetime contribution of 224,000 pounds. The funds will help purchase highly needed requested food items like eggs, poultry, and ground beef.
“The only chance we’ve got in ever beating hunger is to fight it together,” said VFTCB President & CEO, Mike Bowman. “We have so many amazing and generous businesses in the Montco community. We’re asking them to join us in giving anything they can, and helping us spread the word that the pandemic may technically be over, but hunger isn’t. Let’s be true leaders and take care of our friends, neighbors, and children in need.”
VFTCB staff were also joined by Montgomery County Community College Hospitality Institute Director, Karima Roepel, MCCC Hospitality Institute Program Coordinator, Kristina McCann, MCCC Chef Mark Bellini, Food Sustainability Fellow & Private Chef, Jenn Fanega, MCCC Culinary Arts Student, Sinia Harper, as well as Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chair, Ken Lawrence.
The VFTCB is again partnering with the MontCo Anti-Hunger Network (MAHN), a coalition of hunger relief organizations working together to keep families stable with food assistance. MAHN provides resources to almost 70 free meal providers that feed almost more than 20,000 households and almost 65,000 individuals who are food insecure in Montco.
"The Valley Forge Freedom from Hunger Virtual Food Drive is a crucial initiative to rally support for our community's food pantries and free meal providers,” said Amanda Musselman, Executive Director of the MontCo Anti-Hunger Network. “In these challenging times, as they face the daunting task of feeding a growing number of individuals with dwindling resources, this virtual drive becomes a beacon of hope, uniting us all in the fight against hunger. Together, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of those in need, ensuring that our neighbors in Montgomery County do not go to bed hungry."
The VFTCB’s spring drive raised the monetary equivalent of 32,000 pounds of food for a total to date of 164,000 pounds over the life of the initiative so far.
So far, here are ways community businesses are donating to Freedom from Hunger:
- On Sept. 7, King of Prussia Mall is hosting a Back-to-School (bring-your-own-seat) movie night featuring Disney’s Encanto with food and other retail vendors in the outer parking lot on the perimeter of the property, directly across from True Food Kitchen, for a $5-a-person donation. Rain date is Sept. 14. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with the movie starting at 7:30 p.m. Registration is required: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/king-of-prussia-mall-freedom-from-hunger-movie-night-tickets-696241776897?aff=oddtdtcreator.
- In September, Blossom Café in Skippack will feature a Blueberry Muffin Latte. A portion of the proceeds from those drink sales will go to Freedom from Hunger, and the café will match those earnings by 10.
- Throughout September and October, Workhorse Brewing Company in King of Prussia will honor a $1 donation for every Workhorse Punchcard Series draft sold in those two months.
- Madden Media donated $500 (6,000 pounds of food).
- Black Powder Tavern donated $250 (3,000 pounds of food).
Per Nokidhunger.org, for every dollar donated, seven meals – or 12 pounds of food – can be provided by using money to buy food in bulk to give to families in need. Monetary donations are most impactful to aid with purchasing high-demand and much-needed items, including for personal care, such as: toothpaste/toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, diapers, underwear, t-shirts, etc. For example, Cecil & Grace Bean’s Soup Kitchen in Norristown hands out more than 90 paper products each week, and often run out of those supplies. Some pantries are also in need of halal/kosher meat. Karley’s linens also provided tablecloths for the kitchen takeover event.
The Freedom from Hunger Food Drive benefits all people accessing food pantry services, and was created as a farewell “gift” to Pope Francis in 2015 when the Pontiff stayed in Montgomery County at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. To date, the VFTCB has collected more than 164,000 pounds of food to feed the hungry in Montco. In its ninth year, the drive continues to support the community that the tourism board diligently promotes to visitors across the nation, and around the world. To donate, visit www.valleyforge.org/hunger.
If anyone needs assistance, view the list of MAHN’s food pantries and soup kitchens here: https://www.montcoantihunger.org/mahn-member-food-pantries.html.
The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500+ member hotels, restaurants, attractions, and services. The award-winning website links visitors, meeting planners, tour operators, and residents to a diverse portfolio of brands focused on reasons to visit the region.