Walmart’s Lebanon store manager Fatorama Siafa, left, and marketing team members Jim Mckay and Kathy Knapp helped to sort food at the York County
Walmart's Lebanon store manager Fatorama Siafa, left, and marketing team members Jim Mckay and Kathy Knapp helped to sort food at the York County Food Bank Thursday in preparation for the Food for Families program held Friday. (Nikelle Snader)

The York County Food Bank received a $48,000 grant that will provide more than 200 families with groceries every Friday through the next year.

The program, called Food for Families, began at the food bank in 2012 and allows families to select up to 50 pounds of food every Friday from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

Food bank spokeswoman Amanda Shank said the program began by supplying about 50 people with food each week. Shank said the line now stretches down Thackston Lane every week, regardless of rain, sleet or snow.

In an hour and a half, between 200 and 250 families fill bags full of local produce, canned goods, frozen chicken and other donated foodstuffs.

The Walmart Foundation donated the funds through its Pennsylvania State Giving Program. The program awards grants for all sorts of projects, but the donation to the food bank reflects the foundation's special focus on hunger this year, said Jason Klipa, Walmart's director of public affairs and government relations in Pennsylvania.

How it started: The food bank's executive director, Jonathan Fisher, said the Food for Families program began when the organization set out a box of food from their warehouse on Fridays that was going to spoil over the weekend.

People weren't told to take the food, he said, but the thought was to use the resources before they turned to waste. People took advantage of the offering.

"They took all of it," Fisher said. "Even the box."

Now the program is funded for offering much more than that. The food bank incurs a fee of about 19 cents per pound of food that families take each Friday, Shank said. With Walmart's grant, Shank said the Food for Families program is funded for the entire 2014 year.

Fisher said the program is at the heart of the food bank's mission: If families in need can receive help when they need it, Fisher said he hopes they will return the favor when they have the ability to give back to the community.

-- Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.