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Bucks Knocks Out Hunger celebrates five years of fighting hunger

Courtesy: United Way of Bucks County. A Bucks Knocks Out Hunger volunteer packs meals.

Jun 12, 2017

Bucks Knocks Out Hunger, United Way of Bucks County’s signature hunger fighting event, is entering its fifth year of providing hunger relief in Bucks County.  It will be held throughout the month of June, culminating in a community event on Friday, June 30 at Delaware Valley University.

BKO Hunger seeks to eliminate hunger and food insecurity and increase access to nutritious foods for low-income children, families, and seniors.  It is a collaborative effort, bringing together businesses, nonprofits, community members, and local farmers to provide a range of healthy options to those in need. 

Hunger and food insecurity are significant problems in Bucks County. About 1 in 10 Bucks County residents and 16 percent of all children are food insecure.  Food pantries, which are essential lifelines to assist low-income families in need, are frequently unable to stock healthy foods like fresh produce or dairy products.  Donations to pantries from the community are mostly canned and dry foods, which generally have less nutritional value than fresh foods.

Since its inception in 2013, BKO Hunger has provided over 60 tons (more than 480,000 servings) of fresh local fruit and vegetables. The event has also supplied over 100,000 healthy, shelf-stable, "just add water" meals each year.

On June 30, 2017, volunteer food packers will pass the milestone of preparing half a million meals.

To get there, BKO Hunger has set a goal of raising $75,000, about 7 percent more than the 2016 goal. In addition to 100,000 meals, which will be distributed to Bucks County Opportunity Council's network of 27 food pantries and 6 senior centers,  funds raised will also support both Delaware Valley University's Hope of the Harvest Charitable Garden and Rolling Harvest Food Rescue’s efforts to provide fresh, local produce to pantries.

In 2017, the project will also prioritize getting dairy products, like milk and cheese, to the families of young children in need, which is why the goal has been raised – and why public donations are so critical.

“The only thing that makes Bucks Knocks Out Hunger possible are donations from the public,” says Tim Philpot, BKO project manager. “Without the generosity of individuals in Bucks County, this project would not be able to provide so much support to struggling families.” 

He notes that more than 50 percent of the funds raised come from people in Bucks County who want to make a difference.    

"BKO Hunger is a great example of what happens when we collaborate. When we can bring our community together – individuals, businesses, nonprofits, groups, churches – anyone who is willing and able to help, we can accomplish so much," explains Marissa Christie, President and CEO of United Way of Bucks County. “As a parent, knowing how many kids get milk and cheese and fresh produce through BKO Hunger means a lot to me, too," she says.

How to Help:

Volunteer:

In addition to raising funds, BKO Hunger offers volunteer opportunities. From packing meals to preparing the fields to taking photographs, there are many ways to get involved at the community event on Friday, June 30. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit www.uwbucks.org/bkohunger.

Donate:

Gifts of all sizes make a difference. Donations can be made online at www.uwbucks.org/bkohunger, dropped off at any Penn Community Bank, or mailed to the UW Bucks office (413 Hood Blvd, Fairless Hills, PA 19030) with the subject line "BKO Hunger."

Sponsors:

This year’s campaign was kicked off with a generous donation of $5,000 from Penn Community Bank. Other local sponsors include BB&T Bank, Bucks County Women's Initiative, Comcast, Cummins, Dow, GE Water & Process Technologies, Parx Casino, PECO, and Saint Philip's Episcopal Church (New Hope).  New to sponsoring the event this year are First National Bank and Trust of Newtown, the Bucks County Pre-K Counts Coalition and Wawa.  Calkins Media, including The Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer, serve as the official "fight promoters" for BKO Hunger.