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Volunteers are the backbone for community service organizations

Did you know that, according to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, 1 in 6 children in Lancaster County is considered food insecure?

Last week, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, United Way of Lancaster County’s Volunteer Center partnered with Power Packs Project to recruit volunteers to pack 5,000 pounds of rice that, over the next month, will be distributed to nearly 1,300 families served by the organization’s Lancaster Warehouse on Walnut Street.

“Each child deserves an education and hunger should never get in the way of that education,” said Joyce Stephens, Distribution Coordinator, for Power Packs Project.

Power Packs Project relies on United Way of Lancaster County throughout the year to recruit new volunteers to help serve their total client base of 2,000 families in 12 school districts.

“Volunteers are the backbone of the Power Packs Project. We utilize more than 250 volunteers each week to get food packed for the families to take home. While many of our weekly volunteers are from partnering churches, service organizations, schools or companies, we also have many volunteers that hear about opportunities through the United Way of Lancaster County’s website or Brandon’s bi-weekly newspaper article,” said Stephens.

Brandon Engle is United Way of Lancaster County’s Volunteer Center Manager and spends every day promoting volunteerism throughout Lancaster County.

In his words, “volunteerism is important in our community because it helps expand the capacity of community service organizations. Monetary donations help fund the services to the community, but volunteers are the driving force that are reaching out to those that need help.” It’s a great way to see first-hand the work that is happening in the community and helps you gain a better understanding of the complex issues that many are facing.”

Currently, United Way of Lancaster County’s Volunteer Center, operates an online database of volunteer opportunities. Approximately 150 individuals each quarter utilize the site to Get Connected to more than 50 local community service organizations – like Power Packs Project.

Beyond every day volunteer opportunities, Brandon also works to coordinate full days of service in the community. The next opportunity is Read Across America on March 1 and 2. Last year, more than 60 volunteers read to more than 100 classrooms across Lancaster County in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

If you are looking for a rewarding experience, we invite you to give your time and talent to Live United. United Way of Lancaster County’s Volunteer Center is available to help you coordinate the best opportunity. Because, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”


This Story That Unites Us was written by:

Megan Howell
Marketing & Communications Associate
United Way of Lancaster County