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$830,000 heading to Weinberg Regional Food Bank for expansion

Volunteers say the food bank is desperately needed as more and more families struggle with inflation.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Senator Bob Casey announced hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money will be granted to the Weinberg Regional Food Bank in Pittston Township.

"Get it through the whole process through a lot of scrutiny; these dollars have scrutiny applied to them that has never been applied before. And that's appropriate because taxpayers are making it possible," said Casey.

$250,000 in community project funding from the FY22 spending law and $580,000 through the American Rescue Plan will go toward expanding the food bank's storage capacity.

"It will also allow us to expand our partnerships within the four counties that we serve," said Mary Ellen Spellman, the food bank's director. "Yes, yes, demand is up. Increasingly. We have 27 agencies on within this year. Usually, literally, look back at our right and 2019, we only had about maybe 10 to 15 new organizations join on with us, but a lot of new nonprofit agencies are coming out."

Folks with the Food Bank tell Newswatch 16 that the demand for food by families in need is increasing. Much of the things on the shelves will be gone and replaced by November 1st due to increasing costs for families. 

"The increase in costs at our grocery stores, and the increasing costs in fuel costs, has really been a hard hit to our low-income families, "said Deborah Shurtleff from the Wyoming County Community Alliance.

Deborah delivers food to families in need, and she hears firsthand from these people why help with food is needed.

"And the cost of food are really driving an increase in our registrations for delivery. So not only sometimes it's hard to have a vehicle to get to food, but now the amount of fuel that it will cost to drive for 30 minutes just to pick up food is difficult. So we've seen the numbers increase again lately," she said.

If you would like to learn more about how the food bank can help you, you can visit its website by clicking here.

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