From the beginning, Blessings of Hope has always focused on working hard to end food insecurity and provide nourishment for families in need. Every day we strive to empower ministries, organizations, and individuals to reach the less fortunate people within our community—all through food and acts of loving kindness.
Since 2006, our mission hasn’t changed but instead has grown. It’s hard to believe that in less than two decades, Blessings of Hope has gone from working out of a tiny three-door garage to a 43,000-square-foot building.
“It actually started when I was a little boy,” said Blessings of Hope founder, Aaron Fisher. “My dad was in a wheelchair, and we were really poor growing up. And somebody would bring us a box of food every week or two, and it was like Christmas every time. I couldn’t wait until they’d leave to see what they brought! Through that, I decided that I was going to do something with my life to help people.”
And help people we have.
We are Growing to Fight Food Insecurity in Our Community
It’s a bit astonishing now, but in 2008 we were distributing only seven boxes of food a week. To put it into perspective, a box of food is typically between 35 and 40 lbs., and we figure approximately 1.2 lbs. of food can be considered a meal. Now in 2020, we average 63,817 meals a day. You do the math!
As positive as all of our food distribution efforts have been, there’s a downside to it as well. With all of the growth we’ve had, it only means one thing—there are hungry, food-insecure families right here in our community. And we’re working hard every day to put an end to that hunger.
What Is Food Insecurity?
Food insecurity isn’t about just being hungry—it’s much more than that. It’s about having access to the most basic of needs that our Lord intended for us to have.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are two levels of both food insecurity and food security:
- High Food Security: Individuals or families have no issues or reported incidents of problems accessing food.
- Marginal Food Security: Individuals or families have only one or two incidents of food shortage in the house or possible anxiety over the amount of food available to them. “Little or no indication of changes in diets or food intake.” (USDA)
- Low Food Security: Individuals or families have a reduction in quality, variety, or “desirability of diet” in food items with little or no indication of a decrease in food intake. This was previously known as “food insecurity without hunger.”
- Very Low Food Security: Individuals or families have several reports of having a disruption in eating patterns with a reduction in food intake. This was previously defined as “food insecurity with hunger.”
In 2017, there were over 1.5 million people facing food insecurity in Pennsylvania. Approximately 50,760 of those people were in Lancaster County. Those are huge numbers, and Blessings of Hope is working hard to reduce them.
Why It’s a Problem Worth Tackling
It should go without saying, but no one should ever have to go hungry or sacrifice food for the sake of their livelihood. Ending food insecurity may start with feeding families, but it ends by helping those same families get back on their feet.
According to the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, eliminating food insecurity—which is also linked to poverty—can have a lot of positive impacts. When people are food secure, it can create economic growth, create new jobs, reduce poverty, increase global security and stability, as well as improve the overall health and healthcare of our country.
Being shown a little bit of kindness with food can be an immense relief to anyone struggling. Not only that, but you can donate more than just food to help people with the essentials. Perishable and non-perishable items like toothbrushes, shampoo, diapers, toilet paper, and other hygiene products can make a world of difference to someone just wanting to feel some kind of normalcy that most of us take for granted.
What We’re Doing to Help
As Blessings of Hope continues to expand, our goal is to become a “Bridge of Opportunity.” What we mean is that we want to be that bridge of hope between our partners and outreach programs, right to the individuals and families that need us most. We truly want people to move from a lifestyle of poverty into contributing, self-sustaining individuals that no longer need our support.
Our organization specializes in warehousing large quantities of food and distributing it into manageable portions to the community. We have two programs in place to help maximize our reach into the community:
- Ministry Partnerships: We supply your organization with food, and your ministry can distribute it for your food assistance programs.
- Hands of Hope: Through a $10 donation, any individual can visit our facility to put together a box of food that you can then deliver to a family in need.
With the help of over 80 ministries, 1,800 volunteers, and our largest warehouse yet, we’re thankful for the growth that has happened over these last years. In 2020 so far, we have averaged about 58,000 meals a day distributed to the community. As we continue to grow, we expect we’ll eventually be able to distribute over 100 million meals to low-income families in the first five years of our new facility’s operation. None of that is made possible without the help of individuals like you.
How You Can Help Eliminate Food Insecurity in Your Community
While it may seem like your small monetary donation won’t help, giving any amount possible can go a long way to improving your community. Most food banks or food pantries actually receive too much in food donations, and not enough in monetary donations—which are what help keep our facility running! Sometimes we even have to turn away food, which breaks our hearts because we hate seeing it go to waste or end up in landfills.
If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to helping end food insecurity, most places are almost always looking for volunteers. Here at Blessings of Hope, our volunteers help out with repacking/re-bagging food, packing food boxes, handling truck and equipment maintenance, driving trucks, participating in community outreach events, stocking shelves, helping with annual fundraising, and much more.
Check out what current volunteer opportunities are available by reaching out to us today! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about volunteering, donations, or the work that we do. Through the power of our Lord, we can end food insecurity together.