SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fighting food insecurity through community outreach partnerships is the goal of a local organization working to help children and families in need.

Since 2018, Child Hunger Outreach Partnerships has grown to serve tens of thousands of students weekly in Pennsylvania, and their impact continues to grow.

Hundreds of blue bags packed with food can be found inside the Child Hunger Outreach Partners Scranton Branch.

“Our goal as a branch is to get to as many of the local communities to get food out to children all the way up through college age,” said Koren Clark, Program Manager at the Child Hunger Outreach Partners Scranton Branch.

The organization carries out its critical mission through partnerships with the Scranton School District, Head Start programs, WIC, and libraries.

It supplies free food in school, pantries, and plenty for students to take home over the weekend through its backpack program.

“Having their neighborhood school who they feel safe and confident with, providing the food that they’re comfortable with, that they’re used to reaching out and getting is so important,” described Clark.

Food insecurity is a growing concern in the region that doesn’t stop when school ends for the summer.

“And now with inflation and the rise in cost of groceries, and the inability even for middle-class families to make ends meet, food insecurity is a huge piece that is impacting the community in every aspect and every avenue,” explained Clark.

The organization opens its doors year-round to help those in need.

“We’re here for the community and we’re here to help kids eat,” Clark added.

The organization is expanding its services to 13 other school districts and plans to help upwards of 15,000 students.

Anyone interested in volunteering or supporting the mission can visit their website anytime.