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Identity & Community

Pittsburgh food bank will expand its cold storage facilities with a $1.2M grant

Pittsburgh food bank distribution coronavirus drive-up insecurity hunger
Katie Blackley
/
90.5 WESA
A volunteer stacks boxes of meals at a distribution event put on by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on April 10, 2020.

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will receive $1,241,740 to expand its cold storage infrastructure. Through the American Rescue Plan, Pennsylvania will distribute more than $11 million to food banks in every county.

Marnie Schilken, chief program officer at the food bank, said about 30% of its food is fresh produce. Larger cold storage facilities will help them reach their goals of getting healthier meals to families by 2025.

“The money from the infrastructure money that's coming in is specifically around being able to acquire equipment like this and allow us to hit our strategic goal of 50% fresh produce,” said Marnie Schilken, chief program officer at the food bank.

When the pandemic hit the region in early 2020, the food bank immediately set up distribution sites, giving boxes of fresh produce and other groceries to families. According to the food bank, nearly 45 million meals were given to families this year, a 12.5% increase from last year.

In the 11 southwestern Pennsylvania counties the food bank serves, the organization estimates about 343,000, or 1 in every 7 residents, experiences food insecurity.