For more than 30 years, the Mercer Street Food Bank has responded to community-wide hunger in Mercer County. The food bank distributes nearly 2.7 million pounds of food and groceries annually to a network of 80 local food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, meal sites, schools, senior and disabled programs and low-income housing sites. The Mercer Street Friends Food Bank receives food donations such as rice, salmon, pasta, and most recently fresh produce from the government and private donors.
Nearly 12,000 people who face the pain and indignity of hunger are served per month through these distribution channels.
Kyle Williams is the highly involved and hands-on director of the successful food bank. Williams started out as a volunteer and eventually was hired by the food bank and promoted to Food Bank Director. Williams also helped launch the ‘Send Hunger Packing’ program two years ago – a hunger prevention initiative in local schools that initially provided approximately 50 supplemental weekend meals to students. Since that time, the program has grown to deliver nearly 3,000 students with weekend meals per month. “The response we’ve gotten from parents and teachers has been incredible,” says Williams. “We’re just happy that we can make a difference in the lives of our community.”
Williams also says the food bank has plans to start up compost programming for unused or bad produce items. “We use everything that is donated and work to get it distributed to families as soon as possible,” Williams explains. “Unfortunately, fresh produce doesn’t last forever, so we want to compost what isn’t edible.”
With only seven employees, the Mercer Street Food Bank relies on more than 1500 community volunteers per year to help package and distribute food. Interested in volunteering or donating food? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-406-0503. To find out more about the Mercer Street Food Bank, please visit http://mercerstreetfriends.org/food-bank/