JWF Industries presented a check for $2,000 to the Windber Area Community Kitchen (WACK) to assist in the purchase of food items for distribution to local residents. The program is located at Calvary United Methodist Church at 1800 Stockholm Avenue in Windber. JWF Industries also donated turkeys to WACK for distribution to several families for Thanksgiving.
“As a community leader, it is our responsibility to give back and help those in need,” said Will Polacek, General Manager of Paint at JWF Industries. “Our communities have really come together during the COVID-19 pandemic to help others, and we continue to encourage individuals, families, organizations, and corporations to support each other and donate as they are able.”
“We’re a family-owned company and value the importance of families and the strength of our communities,” added Madison Polacek, Material Manager for JWF Industries. “It’s rewarding for us to be able to give back to others and share the blessings we have been given.”
The Community Kitchen program began in 2009 and feeds over 300 individuals every other Saturday throughout the year. Participants include families with children, the elderly, individuals with physical or mental limitations, and individuals seeking human connection with others.
“There’s an unfair stigma about who comes to a community kitchen,” said Ed Rosbaugh, Director of WACK. “The individuals and families we feed do not fit any particular mold or set of circumstances. Our program is open to anyone who needs or wants to join us.”
The Community Kitchen welcomes guests from multiple generations and an opportunity to share stories and support each other. “We’re providing a human link that keeps us connected in the age of high technology,” said Dr. Violette Eash, Board Member for WACK. “We’re giving the human touch. Our guests are spending time with each other. When they eat together, they tend to eat healthier meals and often eat more because they’re slowing down to enjoy their time here.”
The group did note, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic has had its impact on the program. Guests are currently not able to sit and eat their meal at the church, and instead a drive-through service has been implemented for food pick-up. “We are missing the social interaction piece because of COVID,” said Denise Tobias, Board Chairperson for WACK. “We still offer a friendly smile and some light conversation as our guests drive through to pick up their food.”
The Windber Area Community Kitchen welcomes monetary donations to assist their program. “Food donations are appreciated, but there is a lot of regulation around what we can use,” said Rosbaugh. “Monetary donations allow us to stretch funds further and buy exactly what we need to be most effective in helping our community members.” To donate to the WACK program or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call (814) 509-6551 for additional information.