JK Mechanical is proud to be part of the Lancaster County community. Giving back is just one of the ways we show our gratitude and commitment to the community we serve.

Hempfield School District Food Drive – Dec 2014

JK Mechanical has partnered with Hempfield School District for the 5th year in a row to sponsor the Hempfield Gives Back Food Drive. Nearly 9,000 pounds of non-perishable food were collected, making this year’s donation the largest single donation the Hempfield Area Food Pantry has ever received.

On donation day, the JK Mechanical team arrived at each school, filling six service vehicles with food items to transport to the food pantry. The pantry estimates the donations will feed over 200 families.

Water Street Ministries – Lydia Center

Solanco Food Bank

Anticipating the Solanco Food Bank’s move into a much larger space are (front row, from left) volunteer Edythe Cwienk, Solanco Pastors’ Fellowship (SPF) member Marlin Nafziger, (back) SPF member Gary Griffiths, volunteer Chris Leaman, director Geri Vick, and volunteer Ethel Hess.

By Dayna M. Reidenouer

The Solanco Food Bank will be closed from Thursday to Monday, Oct. 13 to 17. When it reopens on Tuesday, Oct. 18, the food bank will have moved to a new location in the Herr Business Plaza, 349 Buck Road, Quarryville. A separate location within the plaza has already been its home for the past 10 years.

Thanks to changes in the businesses that share the facility, the food bank has been given the opportunity to move across the building into a much larger space. On Oct. 13, the complete staff of JK Mechanical Inc. JK Mechanical will voluntarily spend the day constructing new offices and a larger food bank space.

“We do a community workday each year,” explained JK Mechanical vice president Christopher Leaman. “We have around 75 employees, and we like to work together on one big project. We were having a difficult time finding a big enough project, but then we connected with IMPACT Missions. (Director) Matt Beakes had just learned about the food bank project. It quickly became a fantastic fit.”

IMPACT Missions, which Beakes founded in 2009, helps local churches and organizations serve their neighbors in the Lampeter-Strasburg, Penn Manor, and Solanco school districts. IMPACT finds service opportunities, provides safe worksites and materials, supplies experienced on-site troubleshooters, and offers a variety of support services for groups who have little to no experience with going on mission trips. During the food bank project, “IMPACT Missions will provide the expertise. JK Mechanical will do the labor,” Leaman remarked.

When completed, the food bank will have moved from its current space of just 1,200 square feet into an area of 2,136 square feet with an additional 1,500 square feet of storage. The new space will also include rest rooms and three offices.

“It will give us more room for SWEEP, the Solanco Week End Eating Program,” said food bank director Geri Vick. “Volunteers pack bags for 134 kids each weekend.”

The bags include enough single-serve, low-preparation foods for a child to eat two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, and two snacks. The recipients are eligible for the program by qualifying for free lunches at school. The SWEEP bags help children in food-insecure situations stay nourished over the weekends.

Volunteers are crucial to the food bank’s operation. Ever since the Community Action Program downsized its staff, the responsibility of screening potential food bank clients has been handled by volunteers. Now, though, the Solanco Pastors’ Fellowship (SPF), which operates the food bank, has come up with a new plan. The SPF is in the process of developing a new ministry called Solanco Neighborhood Ministries (SNM), which will oversee the assessment of community needs and administrate the food bank, the fuel fund, and the Samaritan fund. A part-time social worker will be hired to administrate the SNM.

The new employee is much needed, as demand has increased from about 50 families visiting the food bank each month to between 70 to 85 per mnoth. Clients are only permitted to utilize the food bank once every three months. Even so, Vick said that she buys $2,500 of groceries every week to keep the food bank stocked.

“We have a lot of businesses that help us,” Vick noted.

Vick also calls 43 local churches each month to advise them on the food bank’s needs. Currently, the shelves are looking bare, so Vick is anticipating a food drive on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the TownsEdge Village Shopping Center in Quarryville. Donations at the food bank will be accepted through Wednesday, Oct. 12, but there will be a brief haitus while the food bank is moving. Donations will resume again on Oct. 18. Large brown grocery bags are currently at the top of the wishlist.

For more information about the Solanco Food Bank, readers may call 786-4308.