Meal Service Non-profits Need Your Donations


[CBS21] DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — Food insecurity is on the rise with inflation. Food prices climbed over 10% in the last year, according to the May 2022 Consumer Price Index.

“The donations are a lifeline to us right now,” Cocoa Packs President and Founder Christine Drexler told CBS 21 News’ Samantha York.

Drexler started Cocoa Packs in 2015. During the school year, her nonprofit serves 1,300 children across 18 districts in central PA. Now that school meal programs have closed for the summer, her volunteers are showing up early to ensure the remaining 800 children in need aren’t left hungry.

Feeding America reports 22 million children, nationwide, suffer with meal security when programs shut down for the summer. The problem is, as need for food soars, donations are down.

“At the height of COVID, everybody was really into being financially supportive,” Drexler explained. “And we’ve seen some of that back up and yet we’re still helping more and more kids.”

Inflation is hitting nonprofits, too – in food, fuel and energy costs.

“Even if it’s, you know, five cents times 1,300, you know, 52 cents times 1,300, there’s 28 items in a pack,” Drexler said. “That adds up really, really quickly.”

That’s where community members are stepping in, seeing Cocoa Packs’ need and organizing their own fundraisers.

“We just wanted to try to help them at a time where their funds are low,” Fete Hershey Events Founder and Director Leslie Prantil said. She’s hosting a Fete en Blanc dinner in Palmyra in an effort to bring the community together to raise money for Cocoa Packs in their time of great need. She says these unique fundraisers draw more donations in and multiply the help they’re able to give to a child in need.

“People have done that organically,” Drexler said.

“Every little bit helps,” Prantil added. “The need is great right now.”

Drexler says it also gives neighbors perspective on the real need around them.

“When we can connect people personally to what we’re doing, it’s all the difference,” Drexler explained. “Because it’s personal to me. I love these kids like they’re my own,” she added, getting choked up.

There will be another fundraiser, Javapalooza, on Saturday for Cocoa Packs.

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