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Schuylkill Haven teen fights food insecurity

Hannah Burke is leading a campaign to feed the hungry in her community.

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. — When she's not in class at Blue Mountain High School, senior Hannah Burke spends her free time growing and collecting food to feed her neighbors through the Jefferson Grange in Schuylkill Haven.

"12% of the overall population in Schuylkill County are food insecure. And 22% of children in Schuylkill County are food insecure," said Hannah Burke, Jefferson Grange Food and Agriculture Director.

Burke knows some of her classmates and their families don't have enough to eat, so she wants to be part of the solution.

She's started a community garden, greenhouse, and now the South Schuylkill Hunger No More Campaign.

To give people a real-life example of how many families in Schuylkill County are food insecure, Burke planned a unique banquet for this Saturday.

"If you're food insecure, you'll maybe get pasta and bread. But if you're not food insecure, you'll get pasta, salad, bread, and tea. It's random based, so we'll have different colored napkins, and that determines what kind of meal you will get at the event," she said.

All of the food being served has been donated by local restaurants and bakeries in Schuylkill County. Burke hopes this gives people a visual understanding of food insecurity within their hometown.

"This is what they eat as a meal if they didn't use the food pantry or the food banks in the area," said Burke.

Burke hopes the event acts as a catalyst for other community members to help their neighbors who may not know where their next meal is coming from.

"I hope people take action and volunteer at their local food bank or start community gardens or change ordinances to have community gardens in their communities," Burke said.

If you would like to learn more about ways to reduce hunger in your area, you can visit the Jefferson Grange website by clicking here.

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