NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – The gauntlet was thrown down by Westmoreland County Food Bank. It was taken up by Penn State New Kensington. A food drive is underway and students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to show their Penn State spirit.
The food bank issued its annual “Campus Challenge” April 14 and New Kensington campus, along with four other regional colleges and universities -- University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, Westmoreland County Community College, Seton Hill University and Saint Vincent College – accepted the challenge. The institutions are collecting nonperishable food donations until April 30.
The New Kensington Lion Ambassadors, a student organization, is spearheading the campus’ effort. Community service is the hallmark of its mission.
Students, faculty, staff and alumni are encouraged to bring canned goods and other nonperishable items to the campus. Donation bins are located around campus: in the mailroom, in the Student Life office and next to the security desk in the main lobby. At the end of the challenge, the food bank will pick up the donations and sort them for distribution at its 40,000-foot warehouse in Delmont, Pennsylvania.
Poverty has emerged as a significant issue across Westmoreland County. Four out of the five poorest census areas in county are in the twin cities of New Kensington and Arnold. According to the Westmoreland Community Action website, one-fifth of the residents of those cities live in poverty.
“New Kensington and Arnold have multiple food pantries supported by the Westmoreland County Food Bank,” said Corinne Coulson, assistant director of enrollment management and adviser to the Lion Ambassadors. “This is a great way to help our county and local area directly and partner with other local colleges and universities for a good cause.”
The Westmoreland County Food Bank is a private nonprofit organization that distributes food to needy families throughout Westmoreland County via a variety of programs. According to the food bank’s website, 95 cents of each dollar donated goes to obtaining food and food programs.
Volunteers distribute food once a month at numerous sites around the county. One of the distribution pantries is located at Mt. St. Peter Parish in New Kensington.
Lion Ambassadors acts on behalf of the campus. Club members work closely with the Enrollment Management Office to promote the campus to prospective students. They lead campus tours and assist with other recruitment activities. Lion Ambassadors represent the campus in the community through volunteer and service activities.