'There's a need': York Benevolent Association expands food service to second site

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
A long line pre-COVID wraps around the street corner at the York Benevolent Association, located at 301 Kings Mill Road in York City.

The York Benevolent Association is expanding its reach after increased demand from families pushed officials to open a second food distribution site.

Interested individuals will now be able to receive packaged food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the fourth Saturday of each month at the back parking lot of Faith United Methodist Church,126 E. Market St. in Hallam borough.

The next scheduled distribution is slated for April 24.

"The people coming through are so grateful," said York Benevolent Association Executive Director Carlene Farabaugh. "That's how you know there's a need."

Headquartered in York City, the York Benevolent Association typically hosts food distribution days from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. every first, second and third Tuesday of the month at 301 Kings Mill Road.

Individuals are asked to pre-register and are assigned a time and a client number to receive food. 

Volunteers from Eastminster Presbyterian Church pack weekly food bags, pre-COVID, for school kids to enjoy over the weekend when school cafeterias are not available.

After the nonprofit received several calls from families who were unable to attend York City distribution days, however, Farabaugh said she knew the organization needed to expand.

"After the fourth phone call, a light went on," Farabaugh said. "Hellam (Township) was one of the low-served areas." 

Since the new site was set up in December, about 55 individuals each month utilize the York Benevolent Association's Hallam location, she said.

Distribution events are typically coordinated by car pick-up. Volunteers will load a package of food into the trunk of cars for those who drive up during the scheduled time, Farabaugh said.

Delivery is also an option, too, which five families currently utilize.

Last month, the York Benevolent Association served over 1,300 households across all of its programs, Farabaugh said, however, she hopes to reach more individuals.

"We know there's more people out there," she added. "They don't know we're here." 

The York Benevolent Association is also partnered with several school districts, including York City School District, York Suburban elementary and middle schools and the York County School of Technology.

The York Benevolent Association was formed in 1863 initially as an organization to provide aid for widows and orphans of Civil War soldiers, according to organization board member Lee Hankey. 

The nonprofit has expanded and has helped hungry individuals and families for over 150 years.

"There is such a need out there for food," Hankey said. "It's just amazing that in this land of good and plenty, that there's people in need of food."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.