Events draw greater attention to hunger issues in Central PA

By on April 9, 2014
brubaker

The fight to eliminate hunger in our communities requires a helping hand from a variety of sources. I recently had an opportunity to take part in a charity event that highlighted an important regional effort to better meet the nutritional needs of Central Pennsylvania families.

The Canstruction charity event invites local volunteers to design and build structures made entirely from canned goods. Architects, engineers, contractors and students from throughout the region gathered to create a number of colorful and imaginative displays that drew greater attention to charitable food efforts while showcasing the talent and creativity of citizens. The designs are judged on a number of criteria, and winners are invited to participate in the national Canstruction building competition.

At the conclusion of the event, the structures were disassembled so all of the cans could be repacked and sent to Project SHARE in Carlisle. The food will be distributed to local food banks and pantries across Dauphin, Cumberland, Lancaster and York counties to help families in need. Additional information regarding Project SHARE is available online at projectshare.net. Photos from the competition will be available online on my website at senatorbrubaker.com and at canstructioncentralpa.org in the near future.

In the coming weeks, I also look forward to another important event in the fight against hunger -the opening of the Capitol Hunger Garden’s fifth growing season. Located on a 1,000 square-foot patch of land adjacent to the state Capitol, the HungerGarden grows fresh vegetables to be donated to food banks. Like the Canstruction charity event, the Hunger Garden relies on dedicated volunteers who are willing to devote their time and effort to help those in need.

This cooperative effort has enjoyed tremendous success over the past four years thanks to the number of individuals, business and organizations that generously offer supplies, financial resources and volunteer hours, and all of these contributions are deeply appreciated. Hundreds of fresh vegetables have been harvested since the garden opened in 2010, and I am hopeful we can build on this success with another productive season this year.

The Capitol Hunger Garden is intended not only as a source of food for Pennsylvanians in need, but also as a valuable educational tool to demonstrate the importance of proper nutrition. In previous years, the garden has served as a backdrop for events to educate state residents about healthy and affordable meal options while raising awareness of hunger issues.

Nearly 1.6 million Pennsylvanians struggle with food insecurity and hunger issues, representing approximately one in every eight state residents. It is estimated that Pennsylvania loses more than $6 billion each year in terms of avoidable health care costs, lost productivity and more expensive public education due to hunger. These staggering and sobering statistics underscore the need for action.

Families in every community in the state suffer from hunger and food insecurity, and it has never been more important to raise awareness of this issue and lend a helping hand to those in need. Individuals and organizations who are interested in learning more about contributing volunteer hours or supplies to the Capitol Hunger Garden should contact my district office at 627-0036.

Sen. Brubaker represents the Lititz area in Harrisburg. His column appears weekly in the commentary section of the Record Express. His Lititz office is located at 301 E. Main St. To contact him, call 627-0036.

For more information on issues of importance to Lancaster and ChesterCounty residents, visit his website at senatorbrubaker.com.

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