Program helping veterans with free food, serving more families during pandemic

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

MYERSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – A program to help veterans get food on the table in central Pennsylvania is growing, and the need is even higher during this pandemic.

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s Military Share program spans 27 counties. It’s celebrating one year in Myerstown.

“Being able to come here and get a lot of grocery items, especially that my kids like, is a huge help. It really saves me a lot of money,” said veteran Heather McGowan.

If you’re a veteran like McGowan, or active duty military, just show up to the VFW in Myerstown or any one of Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s 27 other distribution sites, every month for a little help with your groceries.

“A 25 pound box of dried goods, 10 pounds of frozen meat, a 10 pound to 15 pound box of produce, milk, and eggs,” said Derick Fritchey, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Director of Operations.

The food pick-ups in Myerstown happen every third Tuesday of the month. You’re asked to pre-register about a week in advance.

“We started last May with only three. So today as you saw, our turnout was great. We had 51 units that we distributed, so in a year’s time it’s done really, really big things,” said Phil Arnold, site coordinator for the Military Share program.

And that need has gone up even more during this pandemic.

“The economic impact of the situation. We’ve seen over 50 percent more need,” said Fritchey.

Volunteers are always needed. Just sign up through the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

“Veterans are proud individuals, and they don’t always seek help, so we wanted to provide an opportunity for them to have some help,” said Fritchey.

Any extra food is delivered to a nearby veteran or a local food bank.

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