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Chamber News, Community

Members of the Wyoming County Community Alliance joined together with local volunteers to pack boxes for the Food Emergency Distribution Program of Wyoming County on Monday, Feb. 21. Taking part in that activity were, front row, Sue Gumble from Lackawanna College’s School of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce (WYCCC) President Gina Suydam, Sarah Paddleford and Jonathan Todd. In the second row are Joan Hutchison and WYCCC Marketing and Events Coordinator Allison Schultz. In back are Timothy VanVleek, Jeremy Yadlosky and Thomas Evans. Absent from the photo are volunteers Dianne and Judd Fitze.

By Warren Howeler

On Monday, Feb. 21, the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce offices in Tunkhannock Township were abuzz with activity.

People moved from room to room, packing boxes and sealing them.

Those boxes, once packed, were then moved outside of the Mile Road facility and stacked in specific piles.

The work was orderly in its nature and the volunteers were determined to do the best job possible.

A scene like this has been commonplace at the chamber offices on the third Monday of every month for the past two years.

The purpose behind this particular day was to make sure that over 100 families within Wyoming County had enough to eat as the area—much like the rest of the nation—struggles in the aftermath of the recent pandemic.

What brought this group of dedicated people out on this Monday was the continuation of the county’s Food Emergency Distribution Program.

The initiative was started in 2020 at the height of the issues being encountered with COVID-19 and was spearheaded by Debbie Shurtleff of the Wyoming County Community Alliance.

Every month since April of that year, volunteers have gathered with representatives from the community alliance and the chamber to pack boxes of food for those in need throughout the county.

In that time, the program has delivered more than 1,500 boxes to families in need.

The non-perishable food items for these deliveries are provided by CEO and Weinberg Food Bank. Potatoes and fresh fruit are purchased for each delivery using donations provided to the community alliance.

In some cases, boxes meant for families with young children have diapers and formula included in them.

Once the boxes are fully packed and sorted to their specific destination, volunteer drivers pick them up and deliver them to where they need to be.

Approximately 100 families within the county were set to receive a box from Monday’s distribution.

The program has been made possible through donations from local businesses and residents, as well as tax credits that were awarded by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program.

Families who are in need and would like to be added to the distribution program are asked to sign up by going to wyccc.com/alliance.

In addition, anyone who would like to volunteer or make a donation to the program is encouraged to visit that website for more information.

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