Give Thanks Differently This Year

There are many reasons that giving back through volunteering is a great thing to do for you and your community—especially around the holiday dedicated to giving thanks. This Thanksgiving, you can try volunteering at a food bank and serving people who are less fortunate than you are.

No matter where you are in Pennsylvania, there are places that can use your help. Here are six food banks where you can volunteer this Thanksgiving season:

Northeastern PA, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania

Second Harvest distributes food to neighbors in need, provides resources for education, and advocates for the changes needed to end poverty and hunger. It provides programs for people to learn more about nutrition and cooking so they can make the most of their food.

If you want to get involved, you can advocate, volunteer, or plan a food/fund drive. Visit www.shfblv.org to learn more.

North-central PA, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Williamsport

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s mission is “fighting hunger, improving lives, strengthening communities.”

In 2017, the food bank saw nearly 5,000 volunteers who gave over 35,000 hours of their time.

Read more about this organization at www.centralpafoodbank.org/.

Northwestern PA, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania

Each year, Second Harvest depends on more than 2,000 volunteers to help sort, inspect, repackage, and box food and grocery items for distribution to people in need.

Its mission is to provide food within 11 counties of northwestern Pennsylvania, while creating awareness and educating the community on the realities of hunger.

If you want to get involved, you can make an account and schedule when you want to volunteer on its website, www.nwpafoodbank.org.

Southeastern PA, Philabundance

Philabundance founder Pamela Rainey Lawler said, “Volunteers are the heart and soul of Philabundance, and we couldn’t do what we do without you!” Philabundance serves 90,000 people each week.

Its volunteers work in produce rescue, the hunger relief center, a farmers market, or grocery rescue. The volunteers distributed 25 million pounds of food in 2017.

To learn more about how you can help this organization, visit www.philabundance.org/.

South-central PA, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Harrisburg

This food bank’s reach extends to more than 25 counties.

Read more about this organization at www.centralpafoodbank.org/.

Southwestern PA, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

Last year, more than 4,700 volunteers joined the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. These volunteers sorted, repackaged, and collected to help the distribution of fresh, healthy grocery items.

The organization’s commitment is to operating a clean facility, creating positive social and ethical contributions, and ensuring equality and inclusion in its work environment.

You can visit www.pittsburghfoodbank.org to learn more about how you can get involved.

If you aren’t volunteering anywhere, that’s OK. You can start now! Food banks are a great way to help, especially around the holidays. Even though you’re giving, you will get back much more than you could have imagined.