The organization will keep the donation link open through the holidays to continue to help those in need: www.valleyforge.org/hunger
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) announced the 7th Annual Valley Forge Freedom from Hunger Food Drive – held in September and October to build awareness around hunger in Montgomery County, PA – has surpassed its 25,000-pound goal by collecting $6,902, the equivalent of a record more than 30,000 pounds!
This year, more than 60 individuals or businesses donated to the fundraiser, which was held exclusively online. To date, the VFTCB’s food drive has raised enough for more than 75,000 pounds of food to feed the hungry in Montco.
“We can’t thank the community enough,” said Mike Bowman, President & CEO of the VFTCB. “Every year, we challenge folks to help us fight hunger together, and the Montgomery County community hasn’t let us down yet. Thank you for helping us take care of our friends, neighbors, families, and children. Every little bit truly helps. We’re going to keep the donation link open through the holidays to help as many people as possible since the need has been so much greater over the last year or so.”
The VFTCB also partnered with the MontCo Anti-Hunger Network (MAHN), a coalition of hunger relief organizations working to keep families stable with food assistance. MAHN provides resources to food pantries that feed those who are food insecure in Montco.
“We are beyond grateful that so many businesses stepped up because they understand that we’re all stronger when we’re all fed,” said Paula Schafer, Executive Director of MAHN. “We needed help, and Montco answered that call. We were already able to make a bulk fish order of tilapia, which is a big deal to be able to offer fresh protein. So many people are still in need, and struggling to bounce back from the pandemic, and storms. This is important to support folks in the future, too.”
Several businesses stepped up with donations of $500 or more:
- bartaco in King of Prussia Mall (the largest single donation this year, and to date, of $1,000)
- The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks
- Brandywine Realty Trust
- Heritage Coach Company
- TD Bank
Pre-COVID, MAHN served more than 28,566 households, and more than 60,000 individuals, a year. Over the past year, those numbers have increased to more than 38,060 households, and another 24,000 people for a total of 84,000, according to MAHN. Throughout the last year, the number of food pantries in Montgomery County also went up from 38 to 47. About 28 of those food pantries rely exclusively on donated food to supply distributions. The food pantries span the spectrum in both size and capacity distributing anywhere from 1,200 pounds of food per month to tipping the scale at more than 100,000 pounds of food per month at the largest distributing food pantry in Montgomery County, Catholic Social Services in Norristown. That’s where the purchase of high-demand food items at wholesale process is most impactful, Schafer said.
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. In its seventh, 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.
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.