10:58 AM

Pa. Members Distribute 13,000+ Food Boxes

Pennsylvania Wing members recently joined with the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County and representatives from the Mercer County Public Safety Department to distribute food boxes to those in need.

Fourteen Pennsylvania Wing members, including eight cadets, fulfilled primary responsibilities of handling and loading vehicles as they came through the two set checkpoints June 9 at Hickory High School.

“Pennsylvania Wing members brought their powerful volunteer spirit and strong backs to help their fellow citizens at this event,” said Brig. Gen. Ed Phelka, CAP’s national vice commander. “Assisting with food distribution has become one of Civil Air Patrol’s most significant response missions across the country during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Food was distributed at Hickory High through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program called Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This program combines local farmers and food distributors to provide food to families affected by workforce downsizing in restaurants, hotels and other food services businesses.

The local vendors then package the food and provide the food boxes to local families in need. CFAP has provided up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products.

Schwebel’s Bakery, which isn’t affiliated with the CFAP program, made a special donation to provide one loaf of bread to each vehicle that came through the receiving line. David Bates, Schwebel’s general sales manager, and Todd Spielman, district manager, gave a special thanks for all the volunteers who came out for the food distribution mission.

Each family was provided two boxes of fresh produce, one box of dairy products, one loaf of bread and eight cans of tuna. In addition, informational flyers about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were passed out to each car. SNAP would allow qualifying families to receive further assistance.

People in over 270 vehicles came to the high school, allowing the Pennsylvania Wing members to provide almost 14,000 meals to local families.

“I’m very proud of all our volunteer members for their resiliency relative to the challenges imposed by the pandemic,” said Col. Kevin Berry, Pennsylvania Wing commander. “I’m especially proud of the many members who’ve served our COVID-19 disaster relief missions; their care and concern for others at this time is a shining example of how Pennsylvania Wing serves the Commonwealth and its citizens.”

To date, the wing has assisted with the distribution of over 591,000 meals across Pennsylvania and also produced over 5,100 articles of personal protective equipment for local residents and emergency responders.

Acting as a Total Force partner and the Air Force auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to non-military threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.