October Success Stories in PA Community Action
October Success Stories in PA Community Action
Agency spotlights
October 2021 Newsletter
Success Stories From PA Community Action

The Food Security Edition

Food Drives Success Story

Food Drives Building Community

 Spotlight on Center for Community Action

Community Partnerships Ease Food Insecurity

Center For Community Action Agency was recently involved in two successful food drives in collaboration with local partners and the community to benefit Bedford County-area food banks.   

Shop With A Cop

Developing strong, lasting relationships with community partners is integral when supporting families and individuals in need.  Center for Community Action has developed such a partnership with the local Bedford County charity organization, Shop With A Cop.

PA State Trooper, Michael Whelan, founded the charity organization to assist children of crime victims and other unfortunate circumstances.  The charity’s initial event focused on providing Christmas gifts for these children as well as their family members.   

In recent months, Shop With A Cop has expanded their mission to include assisting both children and families in meaningful ways, including the organization of area food drives.  Center For Community Action has partnered with Shop With A Cop, area grocery stores, the Everett Volunteer Fire Company, and the Everett Police Department to accomplish this mission.

Stuff The Truck

The first of these successful food drives, “Stuff the Truck - Filling Hearts and Carts”, occurred in Everett, Bedford County, which led to the collection of canned and dried goods that fed approximately 135 local families.
Trooper Whelan stated, “Thanks to our continued partnership with Center for Community Action, we have found new friends and avenues to integrating with those we serve, while also improving the lives of the residents of the Commonwealth. We greatly appreciate the continued friendship between our two agencies and seeing the immediate impact community policing and outreach can directly improve the lives of those that need it most. We look forward to future endeavors that our two agencies can use to breaking down walls and making each day better for those that we serve”.
Volunteers stand in front of a truck load of food collected outside of the Everett Foodliner in February 2021, part of the “Filling Hearts & Carts” local food drive. 

Saxton Area Food Drive

The second event, occurred in Saxton, Bedford County.  The total amount of food donated was enough to feed 84 local area families.
Bedford County Commissioner, Deb Baughman stated, “I am always thrilled to see agencies collaborate together for the good of our communities. That’s especially important in our rural county where there is so much need and scarce resources. Fortunately, our county is blessed with good people who step up regularly to help. When a food drive was organized in the little town of Saxton to relieve food insecurity, I stopped by to make a donation and encourage the volunteers. I was blown away by the large contingent of friendly community servants representing Center for Community Action, Shop With a Cop, Saxton Volunteer Fire Company and others. I am so proud of what they accomplished by working together”.
Due to the overwhelming success of the initial two food drives and the fantastic support of Bedford's local communities, they look forward to continuing this strong partnership.  Outreach events such as these food drives are always a great method in getting the word out regarding the wealth of services and program Center for Community Action has to offer.  They always have multiple staff on hand as well to answer specific questions from the community.  A number of individuals stopped by and picked up flyers and brochure regarding their services including:
  • ERAP
  • Vehicle Assistance
  • Scholarship Assistance
  • Weatherization
Learn more about Center for Community Action and their various programs and services.  Also visit their Facebook page or call 1-800-323-9997.  To learn more about Bedford County Shop With A Cop, visit the Bedford County Shop With A Cop Facebook page.
Bedford County has over 47,000 residents and a 10.4% poverty rate, or almost 5,000 people living below the poverty line (source: 2019 census.gov)
Community Garden Success Story

Community Garden Offers Fresh Produce in a Food Desert

Spotlight On Fayette County Community Action Agency (FCCAA)

How Volunteers are United to Offer Fresh Food Access

Fayette County Community Action Agency (FCCAA) received funding to establish and maintain community gardens in the Connellsville, Lemont Furnace, and Uniontown areas of Fayette County.  Residents in these areas have a more difficult time gaining access to fresh produce and some residents live in a food desert.  The gardens in Connellsville and Lemont Furnace are located on FCCAA’s Permanent Supportive Housing properties, and FCCAA partnered with a local community center and church on the gardens in Uniontown.  
FCCAA’s goals for the community gardens are to expand the availability of fresh produce in these areas and educate residents on the benefits of eating healthy.  In late spring, 45 volunteers planted tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, green beans, beets, and cucumbers, and the plants continued to flourish throughout the summer.
“Tending the garden is such a joy.  I feel so lucky to have been involved in this opportunity,” says Casey, a participant who assists in maintaining the Community Garden in Connellsville.  "This past summer, tomatoes were the most popular vegetable for the residents to pick," she added.
The Summer 2021 project had 59 people participate and 18 Master Gardeners contributing to the community project.
FCCAA also partnered with Fayette County Penn State Extension Master Gardeners on the Seed to Supper program, which educated community members on gardening basics and taught them how to grow a portion of their own food on a limited budget.  Some topics covered during the classes included soil preparation, garden planning, maintenance, and harvest.  Participants in the Seed to Supper program assisted in the community gardens and were able to start their own garden. 
Mimi, an FCCAA staff member said, “It has been an absolute joy to work with the Penn State Master Gardeners and the new gardeners.  It has been amazing to watch the new gardens and gardeners grow.  Everyone is excited to plan for next year.”
Click this image to learn about FCCAA services, including:
  • Housing Services
  • Youth Experience Works! Program
  • Financial Skills & Independence Training
  • Employment Counseling, Parenting Skills, and Nutrition Education
Community Action Agencies across the PA Commonwealth are taking action to help organize local food drives, community gardens and food banks for food insecure residents and rural areas with limited fresh food access. 
We thank all our member Agencies for helping to feed the people of Pennsylvania who need our support.

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We would love to honor your Agency's successes, partner- ships, clients and accomplishments in this monthly news-letter. Your stories will also be featured on CAAP's website and in social media posts that help celebrate your successes, praise your partnerships, and educate the public on how individuals and families benefit from Community Action. 
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