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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Brillhart

Food shouldn’t be an impossible choice: How to help Yorkers in need this holiday season

Jennifer Brillhart | Published Nov 30, 2022

The holidays hold a very special place in my heart. Our table is always overflowing, and we have plenty of leftovers to last for days. I recognize what a privilege it is to have more than enough food. Not everyone has the luxury of a special holiday meal, or the guarantee of a meal at all.

For many, we take it for granted that there will be something to eat when we get home from school, work or play and that we will have a choice of what to eat. But in York County, for more than 50,000 people, food insecurity is a reality, and they do not have a choice of what to eat when they get home at the end of the day.

And right now, in York County, the number of people who are not sure where their meals will come from is skyrocketing. Grocery prices are at an all-time high, along with rent, and other household necessities, which is making it difficult for so many. For those who are already struggling, accessing healthy food has become even more difficult.

Should I buy groceries, gas, or pay the electric bill this month? Do I have enough food to feed my children for the rest of the week? These are difficult questions that far too many families in York County must answer.

This is where the York County Food Bank comes in, a beacon of light in the community. Since 1982 we have been in York City, providing healthy, nutritious meals to anyone in need across York County. Perhaps you have had a change in your family circumstances: loss of job, death of a family member, or a sick child. You have fallen on hard times and need some help to feed your family. Or maybe you are currently working but are considered the “working poor” because your low wages do not allow you to adequately purchase all the essentials you need.

In 2021, the York County Food Bank distributed 3.6 million meals to food insecure individuals, families, children and seniors. Photo by Neil Strebig, York Daily Record
In 2021, the York County Food Bank distributed 3.6 million meals to food insecure individuals, families, children and seniors. 📷: Neil Strebig, York Daily Record

Working with a robust network of 80 partner agencies across York County, the Food Bank is here to serve. In 2021, we distributed 3.6 million meals to food insecure individuals, families, children, and seniors through our Food Security Network and directly through our own programs.

One such program is the Senior Food Box Program. Every month, this program provides over 1,700 seniors with a free box of food to help stretch their incomes and improve their nutritional health. Boxes typically include milk, juice, canned meat, poultry, or fish, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, dry beans, peanut butter, and canned fruits and vegetables. A convenient aspect to this program is that we work with DoorDash to deliver the senior boxes to those who are home-bound or lack access to transportation.

Another York County Food Bank program is our drive-thru food distribution, held the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. in the parking lot of Living Word Community Church, 2530 Cape Horn Road, Red Lion. Families receive enough food to feed a family of four for approximately two weeks. Items distributed include a box of non-perishable food, various fresh produce, frozen meat, milk, eggs, and household items, depending on availability.

Our Mobile Food Pantry is an innovative initiative to take food to those communities who lack access to healthy food stores, transportation, or who may be ill.

With the holiday season in full swing, all families should have the opportunity to gather around their table and enjoy a warm meal together. For many in York County that would not be possible without the Give-A-Meal program. Through this program, the Food Bank works with school districts across the county to provide a holiday meal to everyone in need. It’s an amazing partnership that provides joy and sustenance to families during the holidays.

Every family deserves to come together for a holiday free of worry and the pain of empty stomachs. This is why the support of our community is so important. Together, we can make a joyful, restful holiday season for everyone in our community. Please visit our website at to donate or sign up for a volunteer shift.

Thank you for remembering your neighbors facing hunger this holiday season. I am so grateful for the York community and that we can work together to ensure every family has access to not just a holiday meal, but healthy food every day of the year.

Jennifer Brillhart is president and CEO of the York County Food Bank.
Jennifer Brillhart is president and CEO of the York County Food Bank.

YDR Christmas Emergency Fund benefits the York County Food Bank

Each holiday season, the York Daily Record offers readers the opportunity to help our community through the Christmas Emergency Fund. Many residents of York County have struggled to put food on the table as inflation has driven up grocery costs, with some items costing upwards of 10% more this year.


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