United Way Bucks and hundreds of volunteers packaged more than 150,000 bags of food Friday as part of the annual Bucks Knocks Out Hunger food drive at BCCC. This effort will help supply local food pantries and senior centers.
700 people came out for just a couple of hours each to the gymnasium at Bucks County Community College. With dozens of people representing business and organizations throughout Bucks, a sense of community echoed between the walls.
Notably, four out of 25 kids in Bucks endure food insecurity, according to UWBucks. It may be no coincidence that the drive was held on the summer solstice. Director of Community Impact for Health Tim Philpot discussed the way summer impacts these children.
“Summer is a time when children in particular are affected by food insecurity,” Philpot said. “Low income children, often during the school year, able to access free and reduced priced meals at school. But, of course, that program doesn’t exist during the summer. At the same time, the food pantries tend to have fewer donations.”
Tobi Bruhn, VP of Advancement at BCCC, spoke during a brief break from helping other college faculty on the line.
“We support United Ways’s efforts to help the community,” Bruhn said. “As the community college, we want to make sure we are in support of all the great organizations that are helping the community thrive.”
The focus for this year was Spanish rice – a combination of rice, beans, and other nutrition. Volunteers bagged the food together, then ran it through a machine to completely seal the bag and keep the contents fresh. On top of being nutritious, this Spanish rice is completely gluten free.
United Way Bucks purchases the food from The Outreach Program, which helps with various similar events. This year, UWBucks was about $24,000 short of its $85,000 goal as of this past Monday. Still, the amount of fundraising far surpasses the small $35,000 operation that began only seven years ago.