Greetings, and happy fall! Lots going on in MontCo, so let’s jump right in!
The North Penn Community Health Foundation is pleased to announce it will soon begin accepting applications for the second round of its food pantry capacity building program. Grants will be available in 6 categories: 
1.     Strategic/business planning,
2.     Staff and/or board development,
3.     Transitioning to a choice pantry model,
4.     Systems or operating improvements,
5.     Data collection and evaluation, and
6.     Physical improvements to pantry space.
The last category is new and was added to the grant program based on feedback foundation staff have received from numerous pantries on the need for repairs and enhancements to improve the look and atmosphere of the pantries for a more dignified experience. The maximum grant is $10,000, though the foundation expects most grants to be around $5,000. Deadline to submit will be in early November. The foundation will send out an announcement once the application is available and its website is updated with the latest information. For questions, contact Tamela Luce.

Additionally, MAHN and the North Penn Community Health Foundation will be supplying MontCo pantries with some new equipment to help them improve their operations and better serve the community! Please take a brief survey and tell us whether your pantry would benefit most from a hand truck, scale, or a laptop. Supplies are limited, but we’ll do our best to get everyone a new tool to help serve the community.
Catholic Social Services is assembling a meeting of Norristown emergency food providers to discuss the best way to utilize a $10,000 grant from the North Penn Community Health Foundation! At past meetings, food providers have suggested using the money to commission a business plan to open a centralized storage and distribution space in Norristown, or using it to develop an electronic communication network to allow Norristown pantries to share resources and information. The next meeting will be at Catholic Social Services in early November. If you have any questions, please call Liz Peteraf, Catholic Social Services at 610.279.7372 or epeteraf@chs-adphila.org.

Advocates Against Hunger is hosting their fall Fresh Produce Market on Saturday, October 17 at the Norristown Public Library. For more information, please contact Kary LaFors at AdvocatesAHLaFors@aol.com, or 610-630-9637.

The Pennsylvania Food Security Coalition is meeting on October 16th at 10:00am. The meeting is at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank at 3908 Corey Road, Harrisburg, PA 17109. Contact Sheila Christopher for more information at sachristopher@pafoodbanks.org
Manna on Street held their Fifth Annual Run to Help End Hunger in the North Penn Region on Saturday. With about 400 runners and 100 volunteers, the event was a huge success! After the 5-mile, the 5k, and the 1-mile fun run, Manna also held Shopping Cart Relay Races, with nine teams shuttling decorated grocery carts back and forth. Thanks to everyone for coming out to support Manna and the North Penn community!

Philabundance and Manna on Main Street are also finalizing plans to open a produce hub in Lansdale. Beginning in late October, Philabundance will deliver produce to Manna on Main Street, and other agencies will pick up produce there to serve to their clients. This hub will begin by serving Nutrition Coalition pantries with fresh produce, and may expand to serve other pantries beyond the North Penn region.

We’re also exploring the idea of making designating certain pantries in Montgomery County as Redistribution Organizations (RDOs). Those pantries would be able to distribute food to other organizations through their coalition contacts. MAHN Leaders and Philabundance are reviewing the terms of the contract and working to identify locations to pilot the project.

Tamela Luce from the North Penn Community Health Foundation recently published an article about MAHN in the September 2015 edition of the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. The article details MAHN's beginnings and outlines our plans to pilot regional hubs throughout Montgomery County in the coming months.

Turea Hutson, Community Connections Manager at Montgomery County, wants pantries to be aware of the county's Navicate Program. Navicates are human service professionals who can help members of he community access government and social services throughout the county. For more information, please visit their website, or contact Turea Hutson at 484-674-6562.

As many of you know, Pennsylvania has still not passed a balanced budget for the current fiscal year. WHYY recently ran a radio story about the hardships social service organizations are facing due to the impasse, including staff cuts and directors taking out personal loans to fund their organizations. Patrick Druhan from CADCOM will be surveying area pantries to learn how they’re coping as they enter another month without state funding.

We want to thank all the pantries who offered to serve as drop-off points for donations to the Valley Forge Family Day Food Drive. We also recognize that we asked a lot of area religious organizations to participate in a short amount of time, and we appreciate their efforts. While the drive did not yield as many donations as we had hoped, the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board has committed to running an annual food drive each September in honor of Pope Francis. Members of the MAHN Leadership Team will meet with the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board soon to go over what we learned this time around so we can improve our collaborative efforts in the future. 
The InterCounty Food Network will meet in November. Contact Monica Oswald at foodcupboard@theopenlink.org.

The Nutrition Coalition is meeting at 9:00am on Thursday, Oct. 22. This meeting will take place at the Hatfield Church of the Brethren, 1333 Cowpath Road, Hatfield PA 19440. Contact Julie McCabe for more information at Julie@mannaonmain.org.

Advocates Against Hunger will have their next regular meeting in November. Contact Kary LaFors at AdvocatesAHLaFors@aol.com.

The Eastern coalition is planning on meeting again in December. Contact Pat Druhan at pdruhan@cadcom.org to get updates about upcoming meetings.

That’s all, thanks everyone!
MAHN Newsletter, 8.3.15
For more information, contact montcoantihungernetwork@gmail.com
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