SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fighting against childhood hunger one meal at a time.
The Child Hunger Outreach Partners also known as CHOP aims to create a generation that doesn’t know hunger.
“We cut out the middle man, we put the food directly into the kids hands, and make sure they have what they need and they don’t have to count on anyone but themselves,” said founder and executive director Danielle Ruhf.
Its founder Danielle Ruhf says the organization started when her daughter came home from school concerned about her friends who couldn’t afford lunch.
Years later chop now serves bagged meals to tens of thousands of children each week totaling more than 1.1 million last year alone.
“There are some things like yogurt, raisins, there are cereals, and it just really makes their weekend a lot easier, rather than going out and buying or getting food from somebody else,” said Chad Bosely, who is on the board of directors.
The organization expanded to Lackawanna County recruiting people like Nick Montoro who says he didn’t know how to prevent food insecurity.
“Thankfully finding CHOP, they were that conduit to showing me that you know it is possible to actually make a legitimate difference on not only a major local issue, but a global issue with food insecurity,” said director of development, Nick Montoro.
Non-profit officials say fighting the stigma against food insecurity was a challenge they came across especially in high schoolers.
“They didn’t want to take those bags home anymore even though we knew they still needed it. So we incorporated the in-school pantries there and now it’s a stigma-free where the older kids can go in, grab what they need, grab what they need for their siblings, take it home every night and make sure everyone has food to eat,” said Ruhf.
And having those discussions about hunger and raising awareness is one way they plan to chop out hunger.
“You see everyone, no matter what demographic you may fall in, you’re experiencing the pinch so this is a way to help others and again, I think kids and families are starting to see that it’s not a negative thing, it’s a positive thing and everyone’s buying into it,” said board member, Ty Holmes.
If you’d like to learn more about CHOP, or volunteer, you can do so on their website.