A community comes together

Editor, Gettysburg Times,

Community leaders and school district representatives have recently come together to develop strategies for reaching out to families and children who may be food insecure as a result of community-wide efforts to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Our goals are to foster open communication about public assistance as needs arise in the community while encouraging people to follow social distancing measures and safety guidelines.

The Food Policy Council is one of the groups involved in this effort. We have worked on issues related to hunger since 2010. We know that hunger is not a new problem but it has a heightened importance in our current situation. We also understand that hunger manifests itself in different ways, such as undernourishment and malnutrition. Over the years, our program initiatives have aimed to address these issues directly. Most recently our focus has been on addressing the needs of Adams county households that fall through the cracks, so to speak, of social programming — for example those who don’t make enough money to cover their basic needs but also make too much to qualify for food assistance. People in this category are often food insecure and the feelings of fear and uncertainty are surely amplified among this group during the economic fallout of Coronavirus.

So here I extend thanks from the whole community to those who have helped us; those who are focused on the collective good, people of all backgrounds coming together for a great and noble cause. Specifically I would like to thank all the school districts, their staff and volunteers. I would like to thank Ruth’s Harvest, John’s Meals and other backpack programs across the county, and also the food pantries. Thank you to the pick-up and delivery volunteers who have helped in different ways and stayed diligent in the face of COVID-19. Thank you to all the businesses that have donated and express interest to help families; Hollabaugh’s, Apple Bin Grill, McDonald’s and others. Thank you to Gettysburg Rising for helping us collect food items during the stay home, stay healthy food drive and thanks to The Gettysburg Times for helping to spread the word and bringing in more community partners from the Rotary Club. If I have missed anyone on this list, please accept my apologies.

Lastly, don’t forget to stay in touch with people. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. There are so many ways to communicate with people virtually nowadays so make sure to reach out to family, friends, and neighbors. Check on them — how are they doing? And please, please, please follow all the recommendations to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. Call 211 for more information on this or visit www.wellspan.org. For more information about the Food Policy Council, please email me at ygagliardi@wellspan.org.

Yeimi (Jamie) K. Gagliardi,

Adams County Food Policy Council Member

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