Club to sponsor back-to-school food drive | News, Sports, Jobs

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Planning for the Hollidaysburg Area Women’s Club’s back-to-school food drive are (from left): Nicole Clapper Bettwy, Karen Meihaus, Kristi Biltz, Geny Barthelmes (vice president) and Sue Barton, (food drive co-chairwoman).

On Sept. 30, the Hollidaysburg Area Women’s Club, a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization, will participate in the inaugural General Federation of Women’s Clubs’ National Day of Service, spotlighting food insecurity and hunger in the U.S.

This year’s NDS will unite GFWC clubs to help increase public awareness and to provide food resources to residents and families in their communities.

“GFWC Hollidaysburg Area Women’s Club is one of 700 GFWC clubs in 48 states participating to end hunger and food insecurity across the U.S.,” said Rita Brouse, GFWC HAWC Club President. “Our local club is sponsoring a Back-to-School Food Drive that will support the Tiger Backpack Program in the Hollidaysburg Area School District.”

Nonperishable food items will be collected throughout the month, culminating on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Hometown Market in Hollidaysburg, where club members will be volunteering.

Drop boxes are at the following locations: C.W. Longer, Foot of Ten and Frankstown elementary schools, the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library and the Blair Regional YMCA.

“The inaugural GFWC National Day of Service is an exciting opportunity for our clubwomen to demonstrate their volunteer know-how,” said Debra Strahanoski, International President. “The GFWC tagline is ‘Living the Volunteer Spirit!’ which is the essence of this national public awareness campaign about hunger and food insecurity. It takes a village of concerned community leaders, public servants, and compassionate neighbors to solve hunger.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 34 million people in the U.S. are food insecure, 9 million children are hungry, 53 million people turned to food banks following COVID-19 due to unemployment, and 100% of U.S. counties have families suffering from food insecurity.

For three years the U.S. Census Bureau has researched food consumption in households. The number of Americans who say they sometimes do not have enough to eat has jumped 23% – from 15.8 million before the pandemic to 19.2 million in the most recent survey, taken in spring 2023. Households experiencing food insecurity must decide between paying for food or covering rent, utilities, and other costs.

“These statistics are staggering,” said Brouse. “GFWC Clubwomen work tirelessly to be of service to their local communities. Hunger and food insecurity represents an issue that if everyone works together, no one in the United States needs to suffer.”

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) is a unifying force, bringing together local women’s clubs, with members dedicated to strengthening their communities and enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service.

With more than 60,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state and more than 20 countries, GFWC members are community leaders who work locally to create global change by advocating for women, children, and families on issues such as domestic violence and sexual assault, food insecurity and hunger, and promoting healthy lifestyles.

GFWC also supports the arts, works to preserve natural resources, advances education, encourages civic involvement and works toward world peace and understanding.

The GFWC Hollidaysburg Area Women’s Club is celebrating 85 years of Federated volunteer service in the community this year.

To learn more about the club and how to become a member, visit

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