Office Locations 
Capitol Office
53B East Wing
PO Box 202051
Harrisburg PA 17120-2051
Phone: (717) 783-5173
FAX: (717) 782-2963
District Offices:
Fayette Chamber of Commerce Building
65 West Main Street, Suite 200
Uniontown, PA 15401
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Telephone: 724-438-6100
Fax: 724-438-6104

Meyersdale Community Center
215 Main Street, Meyersdale, PA 15552 
Open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Telephone: 814-634-4390

Confluence Community Center
711 Logan Place, Confluence, PA 15424 
Open the first and third Thursdays of the month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Telephone: 814-634-4390 

Ohiopyle Stewart Community Center
15 Sherman Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Open by appointment only.  Telephone: 814-634-4390
Contributing to the Fight Against Hunger
By Rep. Matthew Dowling, 51st Legislative District
Though many of us may not realize the grave disparities that exist in our own communities, people struggle with hunger in every county and legislative district in Pennsylvania. They could be our neighbors, kids in our children's classes – the possibilities go on.

In Pennsylvania, nearly 1.7 million people are struggling with hunger, and of them 482,130 are children. That means one in every eight Pennsylvanians struggle with hunger. Perhaps more strikingly, that means one in every six children goes hungry. Right here in Fayette County, 20,650 individuals qualified as food insecure in 2017, which accounts for 15.3 percent of our population.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It is important to know that hunger and food insecurity are closely related, but distinct, concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household.

There is no single face of food insecurity. It impacts every community in the United States. Hunger runs deep in the communities working hardest to feed us. Even the rural farm communities of Southwestern Pennsylvania — the very places where crops are grown to feed the region — face hunger. It seems impossible, but in lands of plenty, hunger pangs can be the sharpest.

So how do we support our friends and neighbors? Pennsylvania leads all states in providing food assistance for the needy under the State Food Purchase Program. This program, operated by the state Department of Agriculture, received nearly $20 million in the current year’s state budget to provide cash grants to counties for the purchase and distribution of food to people in need.

However, the government funding is intended to supplement the efforts of food pantries, soup kitchen, food banks, feeding programs, shelters for the homeless and similar organizations to reduce hunger. And that’s where we come in. By offering a helping hand, we solidify our community and build on a sense of togetherness.

Considering the times we live in, the more we can do as a society to help one another, the more we can improve our overall quality of life.

In an effort to draw attention to the hunger issue in our community, my office is working to raise awareness and encourage support of our county food banks. We have partnered with the Redstone Foundation, Fayette Chamber of Commerce, Fayette County Community Action Agency, Penn State Extension master gardeners, and other community organizations to renovate the planters on the corners of Main Street and South Arch Street, and West South Street and South Arch Street.

These new planters, designed and built by Life Scout Jonathan Buckel of Uniontown, who is working on attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, will serve as an urban Hunger Garden for area residents. Vegetables harvested from the gardens will be given to local food banks, and the visibility of these gardens should serve as a reminder to area residents that the food banks need our help.

We will kick off this Hunger Garden project on Thursday, May 24, from 4:30-7 p.m. as part of a “Business After Hours” chamber event. I’m looking forward joining other local officials and government leaders in getting my hands dirty planting some crops!

With this kind of effort, we can be leaders in fighting hunger and helping make lives better, and healthier.

Representative Matthew Dowling
51st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Raymond Smith
717.705.1834 / /

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