Feeding our Neighbors

By Tammy Patterson, Vice President of Children and Family Services, Westmoreland Community Action

Whenever United Way asks Westmoreland Community Action (WCA) to collaborate, we always say, ‘yes.’ Because they never hesitate when there is a need to be met.

Together, we’ve equipped Westmoreland County kids with school supplies, kept families on the brink of eviction in their homes and even provided internet access to neighbors who couldn’t afford it during the pandemic. In the seven years I’ve been at WCA, I’ve witnessed thousands of lives changed through the programs supported by United Way.

One of the most impactful ways I’ve seen United Way help is through their efforts to combat food insecurity. No one should know what it feels like to be hungry and their Meal Kit Packing event helps bridge the gap for families who are working hard to feed their children.

Now in its second year, the event brings together hundreds of volunteers to pack 1,750 meal kits for families in need across United Way’s five-county region. The kits are distributed to United Way’s partner agencies, like WCA, and we get them to our families.

This year, brand new recipes – enough to provide a family of four with six meals – were developed by nutritionists to ensure that each family is getting the nutritious meals they need. A Giant Eagle gift card was also included in each box to help purchase the perishable items needed to cook and enjoy these meals together.

In 2022, United Way’s Meal Kit Packing event helped feed 700 families in Westmoreland and Fayette, and this year we fed 815 more.

The relief and joy these meals provide has truly been a special thing to see. Families have shared that getting the support that they need has been crucial, and it reminds them to give back when they can. We’ve been able to feed thousands of families and help them meet basic needs through our partnership.

That’s why I always say, ‘yes!’ to United Way. Will you join me? Learn more and get involved at UWSWPA.org.