The Valley Forge Tourism and Conference Board has kicked off its annual Freedom from Starvation Meals Drive. On this photograph, Mike Bowman, president and CEO of the tourism board, serves lunch to a visitor on the Sept. 9 kickoff on the Norristown Hospitality Middle.(PHOTO COURTESY VALLEY FORGE TOURISM AND CONVENTION BOARD)

UPPER MERION — The Valley Forge Tourism and Conference Board has launched a Freedom from Starvation Spring Meals Drive, working all through the month of March.

The completely on-line fundraising occasion goals to construct on the success of the tourism board’s annual fall meals drive — and helps Montgomery County meals pantry and soup kitchen efforts to replenish their inventory because the summer season months strategy.

The fundraiser will proceed to lift consciousness about starvation in Montgomery County and the elevated want because of the continued influence of inflation, and the provision of much less monetary support, based on a press launch.

This spring meals drive won’t substitute the autumn effort, the company mentioned. The ninth annual Freedom from Starvation Meals Drive will likely be held later this 12 months.

Because it has in previous years for the autumn occasions, the Valley Forge Tourism and Conference Board is partnering with the MontCo Anti-Starvation Community), a coalition of starvation reduction organizations “working collectively to maintain households steady with meals help.” MAHN gives sources to almost 70 meals pantries and soup kitchens that feed those that are meals insecure within the county.

Based on Amanda Musselman, government director of MAHN, donations within the spring are “remarkably low.” As well as, 70% of the community MAHN serves continues to see a sustained improve in want.

Musselman pointed to the Ardmore Meals Pantry at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on the Principal Line for instance. The meals pantry went from serving 85 households per week in July 2022 to at present serving 120 households.

“The very best quantity of meals donations comes into the pantries and soup kitchens throughout the holidays however then fades as the brand new 12 months begins,” Musselman mentioned in a press release. “The beginning of 2023 is especially difficult. As we transfer towards the summer season months, pantries are moreover utilized as many kids lose entry to day by day meals in school.

“Starvation doesn’t take a spring or summer season trip, and neither can we.”

Throughout 2022, MAHN skilled will increase in transportation prices (up 85%), meals prices (up 12%), and a lower in particular person donations (down 5%).

Regardless of these challenges, the group distributed 417,000 kilos in donated meals, for greater than 184,000 meals/family visits, based on the discharge.

Beginning this month, Supplemental Diet Help Program (SNAP) recipient households will not obtain the Emergency Allotment (EA) further fee created throughout the COVID-19 public well being emergency and can resume receiving one SNAP fee per 30 days. That change is because of the passage of the latest federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

Musselman mentioned this system has been a “vital security web” for a lot of all through the pandemic.

“Our native meals help packages want speedy help as they put together to satisfy this anticipated further want,” Musselman added.

Financial donations, somewhat than donations of merchandise, present the best flexibility in combating starvation as a result of they permit MAHN to buy meals wholesale. Consequently, the community is ready to save from $1 to $3 per pound, whereas instantly responding to vital wants.

“We’re asking for everybody that’s in a position — together with different companies — to step up and provides something they will as a result of there are such a lot of in want,” Mike Bowman, president and CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism and Conference Board, mentioned in a press release. “As leaders, it’s our duty to care for one another. These are our buddies, our neighbors, our households, our kids, and each greenback counts.”

The Freedom from Starvation Meals Drive was launched in 2015 as a farewell pledge to Pope Francis, who stayed in Montgomery County on the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary throughout the World Assembly of Households in Philadelphia. The occasion has grown every year and has thus far collected greater than 132,000 kilos of meals to feed the hungry throughout Montgomery County. Since 2020, the drive has been held completely on-line, somewhat than by bodily amassing meals.

To make a donation to the Freedom from Starvation spring marketing campaign go to

Montgomery County residents that want help can view the record of MAHN’s meals pantries and soup kitchens by visiting: