HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Central Pennsylvania Food Bank announced it has been given a donation of $128,000 from the Sheetz for the Kidz initiative to provide hunger relief to children in 27 Central Pa. counties.

Central Pennsylvania Food Bank saw an increased need due to the struggles of the pandemic. Parents were forced to make choices between buying groceries and paying for other bills and expenses, making children lose access to meals. They say over 330,000 people are food insecure in the area.

The Food Bank helps feed children with over 2.5 million meals being provided through their network of local partners including food pantries, soup kitchens and meal programs. This summer, they helped serve over 63,000 meals across 63 sites in 12 counties with the Sheetz grant.

Funding will also be used for their school pantry and backpack programs.

A member of Feeding America, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is one of 27 food banks to get a grant from Sheetz for the Kidz.

“The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is proud to continue its partnership with Sheetz for the Kidz to expand its youth programs throughout central PA,” Joe Arthur, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank said.  “This is particularly important as families continue to work hard to get back on their feet in the wake of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.  We thank Sheetz for their continued investment in our local communities.  Together, we are making sure all of our neighbors have enough nutritious food, every day.”

Sheetz officials say they are grateful to use their grants to help food banks and give them more resources.

“More than ever, there is a need to address food insecurity in the communities in which we operate,” Brittany Funcheon, executive director of Sheetz for the Kidz said. “Through this donation, Sheetz for the Kidz will proudly support child hunger programs including mobile and school pantries, backpack programs and summer feeding.”