Supporting our Community During COVID-19: Our Hunger Hero Story
Backpack Weekend Food Program
Each week during the school year, participating students receive a backpack containing meals and snacks to take home with them for weekend. Examples of food students receive include: cereal, soup, tuna, spaghetti, crackers, fruits, and more.
The YMCA works closely with local schools to distribute information to students/parents qualifying for the Free/Reduced Lunch Program. Parents interested in enrolling their child/children complete a brief, confidential application and permission form. No child is turned away from this program. More information can be obtained by contacting your child’s school.
Backpack Program Instructions for 2020-2021 School Year
If you are interested in having your child participate in the Backpack Program, please review the letters and registration forms below. This program is open to everyone – you will NOT be asked to provide any financial information in order to participate.
Serving These School Districts
|Bald Eagle Area||Bellefonte Area||CenClear||Moshannon Valley|
|Philipsburg-Osceola||Penns Valley Area||State College Area||West Branch|
The Backpack Program is made possible through the dedication and commitment of volunteers. Backpacks are prepared weekly at various sites and then delivered to participating schools.
For information about volunteering, contact:
- Mel Curtis: [email protected]
Watch Our Backpack Program In Action
Feeding Our Community During COVID-19
The Y is committed to ensuring that no one in our community goes hungry during these unprecedented times. Although our facilities are now open, we’re still working hard to ensure local kids and families get the food they need.
We carry a limited supply of baby food for those who are in need. Please call 814-342-0889 for more information.
Local Restaurant Partnerships
The Travelin’ Table, our mobile feeding bus, has been on the road distributing food we are receiving through partnerships with several local restaurants. For more information, please contact Mel Curtis at [email protected] or 814-342-0889.
Large Food Distributions
These distributions provide larger amounts of food for families in need. Additional distribution dates and locations will be posted on our Facebook page and this portion of the website. For more information, please contact Mel Curtis at [email protected] or 814-342-0889.
- 2nd and 4th Thursday of Every Month:
- At 4:00 PM at the Penn Highlands Family Center in Peebles Plaza (Philipsburg)
- 1st and 3rd Thursday of Every Month:
- At 4:00 PM at the “Diamondback Family Center” – St. Barbara’s Church in Houtzdale.
Fresh Express Distributions
Our Fresh Express program offers staple fresh foods, such as meats, fruits, and vegetables. Food is available to anyone, regardless of income or family size. No questions asked. The sites listed below serve as distribution locations. Additional distribution dates and locations will be posted on our Facebook page and this portion of the website. For more information, please contact Mel Curtis at [email protected] or 814-342-0889.
- 1st and 3rd Monday of Every Month:
- At 12:00 PM in Snow Shoe at THE PARK
- 1st and 3rd Thursday of Every Month:
- At Penn Highlands Family Center in Peebles Plaza (Philipsburg). Call 814-342-0889 for exact distribution times.
- 2nd and 4th Thursday of Every Month:
- At 6:30 PM at the Bald Eagle Valley United Methodist Church in Wingate (behind the Sheetz store).
Through several partnerships, we are occasionally able to provide food delivery service to shut-ins and those that don’t have transportation to one of our sites. To receive this assistance, please contact Mel Curtis at [email protected] or 814-342-0889.
Travelin’ Table Mobile Feeding Program
More than 20,000 people in Centre County are wondering where their next meal is coming from. We think that’s unacceptable. That’s why we’ve partnered with CenClear Child Services to create the Travelin’ Table, a mobile feeding bus that will meet the needs of children in our community that do not have access to nutritious meals and other important resources they need to sustain healthy physical and mental growth.
A lot of children in our community depend on free and reduced lunch programs that ensure they are provided with healthy meals at school, but when school is not in session, those meals are no longer available. In addition, children and families who live in outlying areas of Centre County do not have access to or knowledge of healthcare resources available to them. That’s where the Travelin’ Table comes in.
The bus travels through the communities we serve to bring food and other resources directly to those who need them. No questions asked. It is equipped with a full kitchen to support distribution of healthy meals, healthcare education and screenings provided by Penn State Health, and educational supplies and sports equipment to combat summer learning loss and encourage exercise. Click here to view more photos of the Travelin’ Table.
In addition to the Travelin’ Table, we have recently added a second mobile unit, called “Hometown Heroes”. This unit will provide meals and boxed food similar to the Travelin’ Table. Stay tuned for more information.
Summer Lunch Program
YMCA of Centre County’s Anti-Hunger Program has been distributing meals for the past 16 years. The 2020 Summer Lunch season ended Friday, August 21. Stay tuned for more information regarding the 2021 season.
One in six children in the United States wakes up facing hunger every day, which can lead to poor nutrition, more frequent illnesses, inability to concentrate, and many other health and behavioral issues. Together, with local school districts and members of our community, the YMCA of Centre County continues to expand and enhance its anti-hunger initiatives.
The Moshannon Valley YMCA began the Summer Lunch Program in 2004, serving children at four locations in the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District. Now, the program serves children at locations in Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Moshannon Valley, Penns Valley, Philipsburg-Osceola, and West Branch Area, and State College School Districts
The YMCA’s Summer Lunch Program is open to children up to age 18 at no cost. Parents/adult caregivers are permitted to eat with their child at a cost of $2.50 per meal. All food must be consumed on site. The lunch menu includes hot meals on Monday – Thursday, and a cold meal on Fridays where available; see site schedule below. All meals meet USDA nutrition standards and are served with milk. The YMCA of Centre County serves as a Summer Food Service Provider sponsor under the oversight of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The Summer Lunch Program fills a void that many students face when they are not in school to receive lunch. It also provides them with an opportunity to get out of the house and interact with other children and families. Many children walk or bike to the sites, and many sites are located near parks or playgrounds for physical activity before or after lunch.
The official registration and financial information of YMCA of Centre County may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
Making An Impact
- Since 2004, the YMCA has operated the Summer Lunch Program, serving lunches for kids across Centre County through the USDA Summer Food Service Program.
- By the end of the 2019-20 school year, over 1,300 children in seven school districts were receiving a backpack of food each weekend.
- Local businesses, individuals, families, and school groups have truly embraced the opportunity to help kids in their community by giving their time, talents, and treasure to support the Y’s efforts.
- To support its Anti-Hunger Programs, the YMCA of Centre County has been awarded substantial grants through Walmart Foundation/YMCA of the USA Year Round Food Program, Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program, Centre County United Way, and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
We’re committed to ensuring people in our community do not go hungry. If you are too, consider making a financial contribution to this program. Donations can be made in the following ways:
- By Mail: to YMCA of Centre County, Development Office, 677 W Whitehall Road, State College, PA 16801
- Online: click here to donate online
No matter the amount, your support ensures we are able to continue to eliminate food insecurity in our community.
Donations to the YMCA of Centre County are tax-deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. (Tax ID# 24-0802437) Together, we are building a stronger community, providing support for families, and promoting overall positive change. Thank you again for your support.
If you would like to volunteer at any of our sites or warehouse, please email: [email protected]. In your message, please include the following information: Name, phone #, email address, the school district area that you are willing to volunteer in, and what type of volunteer work you are willing to do (transport food to sites, volunteer at sites, volunteer for packing, or volunteer to pick-up donation). We have received a tremendous response from our community, and we want to make sure we are responding to everyone. For safety reasons, volunteers will only be working in small groups and will be required to wear a mask.
For More Information
Mel Curtis – 814-342-0889 or email [email protected]
All eligible children (those under the age of 18), have equal access to the benefits of these programs regardless of family income, race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. No child is turned away. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint filing cust.html and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410. By fax: (202) 690-7442; or by email: [email protected]. The YMCA of Centre County is an equal opportunity provider.