Pennsylvania Kitchen: Behind the Scenes with Chester County Food Bank

This guest in the Pennsylvania Kitchen is close to our hearts; we’ve been working with the Chester County Food Bank (CCFB) for years, and have seen its mission and scope grow and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of the community it serves. Anne Shuniak, the CCFB’s marketing and communications manager, not only brought two great, nutritious and affordable dishes to share (a breakfast quinoa bowl and a veggie grain bowl), but she shared so much of her passion and energy for the important work the organization is doing.

Chester County Food Bank, which was founded in 2009, strives tirelessly to secure, manage and distribute food to those in need. It does this by serving more than 120 partner agencies, a network of food cupboards, hot meal sites, shelters and other social service organizations. CCFB is a big hub, where donations from food drives, fresh produce from local produce auctions, and fruits and veggies from the Food Bank’s local farm partners and innovative Raised Bed Gardens program. That’s something that is so unique about CCFB: While you might think of typical items from a food cupboard as canned and dried foods, Chester County Food Bank puts fresh produce in the hands of those facing food insecurity, because everyone deserves access to clean, healthful, nutrient-dense food.

But it’s not just fresh food that CCFB helps to supply to its neighbors in need — its also provides educational opportunities to help people learn how to enjoy all kinds of fresh fruit and veggies on a budget. Its core programs are Eat Fresh, a cooking and nutrition workshop, and TasteIt!, friendly cooking demonstrations in front of the Fresh2You Mobile Market, a produce stand on wheels that makes weekly stops throughout Chester County. These thoughtful, creative initiatives show that unfamiliar foods can be fun and delicious to discover, and also encourage accessible, simple cooking techniques — just like the grain bowls Anne prepared in our kitchen.

To learn more about Chester County Food Bank’s mission, to donate, or to sign up to volunteer, visit CCFB’s website. If you don’t live in Chester County, but are looking for a food cupboard or pantry in your area, use this tool through the website.

  • Video and photo: Chester County Food Bank