Creating “A Seat at the Table”

Creating “A Seat at the Table”

A four-million-pound food gap filled. 55,000 lives changed. Hunger eradicated.

In 2017, five charitable food organizations in York County came together as the first collaborative effort in Pennsylvania to address health-related needs and recommendations identified by Governor Wolf’s “Blueprint for a Hunger-Free PA.”

They approached the Memorial Health Fund (MHF) board for a $250,000 grant to analyze the charitable food system in York County and find ways for the organizations to collaborate more effectively so no one went hungry. Struck by the magnitude of need in our community and the group’s collaborative approach, the MHF board approved the grant and committed to having a York County Community Foundation staff member work along-side them to support the development of the plan.

In June 2019, the food collaborative unveiled the report, “A Seat at the Table” with a press conference at which keynote speaker First Lady Frances Wolf shared how the findings of the report changed her mind-set about how to address food insecurity across the Commonwealth.

“A Seat at the Table” tackles the duplication of efforts, the challenges of the over-extension of current programs, inequality in access to healthy foods, and more. It also identified strategies to alleviate these challenges.

Already the recommendations have helped 5,500 more people gain access to food. The group is now able to better leverage over $500,000 in annual tax dollars allocated to York County from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture State Food Purchase Program. Together the group is working to reduce duplication, improve efficiencies and reach areas of York County where access to charitable food is very limited but the need is great.

All of this has been achieved by five individual organizations working together on the common goal of improving the complex systemic challenge of hunger in our community. As they have progressed along their journey, they’ve learned and incorporated elements of the collective impact framework, using mutually reinforcing activities and joint accountability to improve outcomes and achieve them more quickly.

MHF is committed to supporting the group’s progress and in 2019 awarded a grant for Phase II of “A Seat at the Table.”

MEMBERS OF THE FOOD COLLABORATIVE:
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA
FOOD BANK
YORK COUNTY FOOD BANK
CATHOLIC HARVEST
FOOD PANTRY
NEW HOPE MINISTRIES
YORK COUNTY FOOD ALLIANCE

 

 

DURING THE CURRENT COVID-19 CRISIS, THE FOOD COLLABORATIVE HAS CONTINUED TO WORK TOGETHER TO PROVIDE 1.2 MILLION POUNDS OF FOOD TO FEED 28,000 FAMILIES IN JUST ONE MONTH ALONE.