Students in the community nutrition class in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Food and Nutrition are finalizing plans for next weekend to help feed the hungry in Indiana County.
Students Julia Blair, Taylor Jones and Kristy Bendis told the Indiana County commissioners Wednesday that, according to Feeding America, a national food bank, 13.7 percent of Indiana County residents are food insecure.
And, the students said, hunger is not a problem society can fix once like a leaky faucet. Hunger happens again and again, even during the same day. Hungry children can’t learn and grow, and hungry adults get sick more often and have an increased risk for diseases and hospitalization, they said.
The students in the community nutrition class, taught by Dr. Idamarie Laquatra, will address the local hunger issue by conducting the 20th annual Community Nutrition Food Drive on May 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The theme for this year’s food drive is “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” and students, wearing easy-to-spot blue T-shirts and name tags, will collect nonperishable food items, personal care items and cash donations at 11 locations around the county.
The donations will benefit the Indiana County Community Action Program’s food pantries and hungry families in the county.
Donations may be dropped off at Valeski’s Fourth Street Bi-Lo, Walmart, Giant Eagle and Big Lots in White Township; Merck’s Bi-Lo in Homer City; Tate’s Supermarket in Clymer; Shop n’ Save in Saltsburg; and at the four McDonald’s restaurants in Indiana, White Township and Blairsville.
ICCAP uses cash donations to purchase food from Feeding America, which purchases surplus food from many food manufacturers. ICCAP can buy one pound of food for approximately 10 cents and one pound of produce for 3 cents, so a donation of $1 at the food drive will purchase 10 pounds of food or 30 pounds of produce.