The Weinberg Food Bank, run by the Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO), is a regional food bank servicing charitable organizations by providing food to alleviate hunger and promote proper nutrition. The mission of CEO is to promote self-sufficiency among low-income and vulnerable populations by confronting the causes and reducing the effects of poverty.
Housed within the Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan Center for Healthy Living, in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East, the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank services charitable organizations by providing food to alleviate hunger and promote proper nutrition, particularly among children and the elderly.
The Food Bank provides food assistance to faith-based and 501(c)3 non-profit community organizations to distribute to needy families. By collecting donations of wholesome but unmarketable food and distributing it to these organizations, the Food Bank works to reduce hunger and promote proper nutrition in addition to preventing food waste. The Food Bank serves four counties in Northeast Pennsylvania: Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, and Wyoming.
The Regional Food Bank distributes these products to food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, group homes for the disabled, day care centers, children’s camps, and senior citizens programs. In a typical year, the Weinberg Food Bank distributes more than 5 million pounds of food to more than 160 agencies.
In 2012, with its building at maximum capacity and the demand for its services growing, CEO secured a restricted grant to construct a larger, more modern food bank. The grant guidelines required CEO to find a workable site that would allow the start of construction within a very short time frame. Robert K. Mericle donated a 6.35 acre, fully-prepared, pad-ready parcel in Mericle’s CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East development in Jenkins Township near Pittston. He donated the site with full development approvals already in place. Mericle’s construction team re-designed the site, secured new approvals for the exact design of CEO’s building, and completed all of the rough site work, including blasting, for the required foundation work free of charge. CEO constructed a 50,220 square foot Food Bank named the Andrew J. McGowan Center for Healthy Living (the “Center”) on the site.
All segments of the food industry can donate products: growers, retailers, canners, packers, wholesalers, processors, food brokers, manufacturers, etc. Businesses, service organizations, churches and schools can also assist in providing food through drives. Along with providing food and monetary support to offset equipment and operating costs, many of these organizations assist with volunteer hours.