Each month, nearly 200 seniors in Luzerne County rely on the programs of the Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank to keep from going hungry. For these seniors, purchasing fresh, nutritious foods often takes a backseat to other expenses, such as rent, utilities and health care needs.

In years’ past, Masonic Villages printed and distributed its Report to the Community. In an effort to “go green,” this year’s report is only available online. Masonic Villages is donating the money saved on production costs to charitable organizations serving seniors across Pennsylvania.

 A $2,000 donation was made to the Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank on behalf of the Masonic Village at Dallas. Shown above: (l-r): Mary Ellen Spellman and Heather Feist, of Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank; Masonic Village resident Marvin Cunningham; Rich Kutz, of Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank; Noah Davis, executive director, Masonic Village at Dallas; Gene Brady, executive director of Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank; Joy Hubshman, director of sales and marketing, Masonic Village at Dallas; and Christian Bodnar, of Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank

Three pantries in the Back Mountain serve an average of 106 seniors each month. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program packages a monthly food box for 47 seniors. The Home Delivered Food Program serves 39 homebound seniors. The food bank also distributes food boxes to the Dallas Active Adult Center and residents of the Meadows Apartments, which provide low to moderate income housing for those ages 62 years or older. The food bank is developing a mobile food pantry for the Dallas area, which will allow it to provide direct service to individuals and efficiently handle larger quantities of fresh produce.

According to Gene Brady, executive director of Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, $2,000 can be used to provide more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce.

“With seniors living on a limited budget, having access to healthy foods such as fresh produce really has a value that is immeasurable,” he said. “One cannot quantify the value of being healthy!”

The typical senior utilizing the food bank has a monthly income of $1,518 or less. Services are promoted through the organization’s website, the Department of Aging and word of mouth.

In addition to donations – money and food – the food bank relies heavily on its volunteer network. Volunteers fill 2,000 boxes each month for distribution to seniors in the four counties served by the food bank. Each food pantry is also run by volunteers.

“Masonic Village at Dallas is fortunate to be part of a community that is committed to addressing the needs of its most vulnerable citizens,” Noah Davis, executive director, said. “We’re proud to support Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank in its efforts, and proud to call Luzerne County home.”

Learn more about the Weinberg Reginal Food Bank on its website.

In 2017, between awarding scholarships to teen volunteers, donating to local emergency service providers, hosting interns and many other efforts, Masonic Villages gave back more than $778,800 in support to the Dallas, Elizabethtown, Lafayette Hill, Sewickley and Warminster communities, while also providing charitable care and services worth $48.9 million. For Masonic Villages’ full Report to the Community, visit our website.