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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

West Chester Food Cupboard

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Coronavirus Relief Food Banks, Food, Food Banks & Pantries

Mission: We believe that food security is a basic human need, and it is our mission to empower our community to work together in making sure that everyone receives the food they need to live a healthy, active life “…because no one should go hungry!”

Results: 2018 Highlights (July 2017 through May 2018) • Approximately 160 volunteers, no paid staff • Average households served: 560 (clients come to the cupboard an average of six times a year) • Food distributed: we are on target to distribute 1.1 MILLION pounds of food by the end of June. • We have increased the quantity as well as quality by purchasing items such as boneless chicken breasts, frozen fish, dairy, spices and produce. • In 2018 we will supply clients with approximately two weeks of food support during the month. In comparison, in 2013, we supplied about 3 days of food support during the month. • Food purchases: food and personal care item purchases increased from $155,000 in 2013 to $450,000 in 2018. • Food donations: have increased by 35% thanks to the support of the community. In 2018 we expect donated food to be around 640,000 pounds.

Target demographics: As the largest hunger-relief agency serving the West Chester PA area, we are the primary source of food assistance for children, adults and the elderly who suffer from food insecurity.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,498 individuals (1,328 adults, 262 over the age of 60 and 908 children).

Geographic areas served: West Chester PA

Programs: The west chester food cupboard is the largest hunger relief agency in chester county. We are the primary source of food assistance for low- income residents living in the west chester area school district. During the pandemic we are serving any resident of PA who is in need. We provide food and basic personal care items free of charge to households whose income falls at 150% of or below the federal poverty level. West chester food cupboard is a 100% volunteer-run organization with no paid staff.

Community Stories

41 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

About 6 years ago I decided I wanted to become involved volunteering somewhere on my day off. I saw a post in our local paper the West Chester Food Cupboard was looking for volunteers. I signed up and I am so glad I did!
I was first impressed with the fact that NO ONE gets paid. Every penny is used for food, personal care necessities and overhead costs. Many of us on Wednesdays have been together for years and I consider them my friends. I look forward to working with them and getting to know our clients. While I now spend most of my time stocking, accepting orders and donations and organizing the warehouse; I continue to to enjoy interacting with our clients. I have gotten to know many and it is humbling to hear their stories and to know that we can ease their burdens by proving a cart full of groceries. We do not just hand them bags of food but they are able to enjoy shopping and selecting the food their families like. Most get very excited when they see all the fresh produce that gets donated during the growing season. They are so receptive to recipe suggestions and go home excited to cook their new produce and try out on their families.
We are so grateful for our local farmers, schools, churches, and neighborhood gardens that grow and donate their produce!
Whether our clients need us short term or longer, our county is so fortunate the West Chester Food Cupboard is able to provide this service. I highly recommend becoming involved.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at WCFC since 2014, with primary responsibilities for escorting clients on Saturday mornings. I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organization whose mission is so vitally important to so many food-insecure households in our community. Clients come to us for help as a result of a wide variety of circumstances that make it difficult for them to provide adequate and nutritious food for their families. At the Cupboard, they can choose from a wonderful selection of fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy items, frozen fish and meat, canned and non-perishable foods, and more. Because clients can choose what they need and will use, instead of receiving a one-size-fits-all package, the Cupboard is a very efficient mechanism for providing food assistance that really makes an impact in the clients’ lives.

As a result, it is clear how much the clients appreciate the facility, the donors, and the all-volunteer staff that keeps this complicated operation running smoothly every day. Frequently during our enjoyable chats as we work our way through the various sections of the Cupboard, clients mention to me how this service is the lynchpin that gets them through their month, and that they have no idea how they would get by without it. It is both amazing and gratifying to me that 160 part time volunteers can make this much impact for about 560 households (representing 2,500 people!) in our community. I am most grateful to our generous donors and the other volunteers for sharing the concern that 560 food-insecure families in our community is 560 too many.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first found about West Chester Food Cupboard when looking for someone who might appreciate receiving the excess produce from our backyard garden. After stopping in a few times to donate, I was very impressed with the organization and soon thereafter decided to start volunteering on Saturday mornings. That was 2 years ago, and I still very much look forward to getting to WCFC each Saturday to help clients select a wide variety of healthy food, and thereby assist in reducing food insecurity for some of our most vulnerable neighbors. I highly recommend volunteering for anyone who would like to help make a real difference in our community!

Volunteer

Rating: 5


When I was looking for a place to volunteer some of my time in the community, I knew the food cupboard was where I wanted it to be because my wife was already volunteering there, and I got to hear firsthand of their great work. I have now been volunteering at the food cupboard for 3 years. What started out as donation pickup at a small specialty store has grown into me volunteering 3-4 days a week at the cupboard, covering a variety of duties. It has evolved into such a rewarding experience, inspiring me to offer as much time as I can, to an organization that provides such an important need in my community. And it has been amazing to see the community respond to this need, providing donation support that has allowed the cupboard to increase the quantity and quality of the food they provide. It's especially terrific to see the cupboard provide such great produce, dairy, and meats.

It is a privilege to be a part of such a well-run organization with an all-volunteer staff, especially when there are so many moving parts and coordination that has to happen on a day-to-day basis to get the food cupboard well-stocked and ready to serve clients.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at the WCFC since 2012 and have found it to be a wonderful and rewarding experience. When I began volunteering I had no idea that the needs of many people in our community were so great. I have been extremely impressed by the generosity of our donors as well as our volunteers, many of whom give multiple hours a week of their time to meet the needs of running the largest food cupboard in our county. We are an all-volunteer organization so that every penny donated is used for either our overhead or for the purchase of food. Although I spend many of my hours purchasing a vast variety of healthy foods which we make available to our clients, I most enjoy meeting our clients, hearing their stories and seeing what a difference the cupboard makes in easing their struggles with food insecurity. I love that we are a client choice cupboard, so that our clients are empowered to select the items they want for themselves and their families. Many are working mothers and fathers who simply have trouble making ends meet with the high cost of living in our county. The atmosphere of the WCFC is welcoming to all, clients and volunteers alike, and the volunteers are committed to working together to accomplish our mission which states that no one should go hungry.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

No one should be hungry anywhere. This is what prompted me to volunteer at the West Chester Food Cupboard. I had no idea how many families needed help with food. Seniors, military vets, handicapped, single moms and single dads are our clients. We don’t just hand our clients bags of food. We escort them through the store and allow them to make selections of what foods their family will eat. Much less waste this way. So many express their gratitude every time they come. I thoroughly encourage everyone to come visit and see how we make a difference in people’s lives and how they can be part of that experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer who works one afternoon a week, I find the most rewarding part of my time at the Cupboard is the conversations I have with clients as they shop and make their food selections. Hearing about their day, their work, their kids, their health issues or their food preferences as we progress through the many sections of the Cupboard, causes me to appreciate the variety of life situations that can lead to food scarcity. It is a humbling experience to hear these stories and realize that in this community where so many people have so much, there are neighbors who struggle on a daily basis.

Every client expresses deep gratitude for the high quality food and the wide selection of products made available to them in a clean, bright and friendly environment. Many say they couldn't get through the month without the food they get from the Cupboard. Everyone is treated with respect and dignity from the moment they walk in the door and register, to the time they wheel their full grocery cart outside to load their car.

I am proud to be a part of this amazing volunteer team that consistently provides such a vital service to people in our community. It's especially gratifying to see how well-run the WCFC is with no paid employees and such effective use of financial and food donations. We're all committed to doing our part in ending food scarcity in West Chester.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer and a monthly supporter. This is a great place to make a difference in the life of families in our community. When you see a mom get excited to see fresh strawberries, or frozen broccoli, you realize how fortunate you are. When we receive donations from the community, they get put to use almost immediately. This is a great, clean facility run by ALL volunteers, and families can even take home a children’s book from the waiting area.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for the cupboard for six years now and have witnessed the progress we have made in serving our community. The availability of frozen and fresh vegetables gives an alternative to canned goods. This helps those who are watching their salt intake. Having personal products also helps our clients keep up with their daily needs. With summer here, the return of our children’s food bags have started. Having worked in pediatrics for many years, it is heartwarming to know those child who rely on school for meals will not go hungry during the summer months.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at the West Chester Food Cupboard thinking I wanted to give back to our community. What I didn't realize at the time was just how much more our community would give in return.

I have the amazing opportunity to connect and learn from people from all walks of life, as food insecurity knows no boundaries. We have an immense respect for our clients and take great pride in creating a comfortable, fun environment to visit. There is no better feeling than watching our clients leave with a trunk full of groceries, their dignity, a big smile and one less problem to worry about.

The experience has been life changing for me. It has opened my eyes to the fact that any of us, at any time could become food insecure.

Originally, I planned to volunteer one day a month, which almost immediately changed to weekly and last year, I became a board member. I am inspired by the positive, can do attitude of our volunteers, who strive to create an environment where people feel welcome.

The outpouring of support for those in need fills me with hope and gratitude. I am humbled, honored and proud to be a part of such an amazing community and organization, who care about the wellbeing of others and ensuring that Nobody Goes Hungry!


Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for 7 years and a member of the Board for 5 years and most recently became President of the Board in May 2017. What drew me the the West Chester Food Cupboard is the fact that it is an all volunteer organization with no paid staff and supports those in need directly in my community. I am so proud to be part of this organization and the support it provides to the community. We serve approximately 560 households a month and provide them with a wide variety of food and personal care items free of charge. For our fiscal year end June 30, 2018 we are expected to surpass providing one million pounds of food. We could not provide this service with out the support of the community and appreciative the support we receive. Approximately 50% of the food we provide is from donated food and 50% is purchased with cash donations.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a volunteer at the Cupboard after working as a volunteer in a garden that grows food for the Cupboard. I am amazed at how many fresh fruits and vegetables the Cupboard provides clients. All year round the Cupboard supplies basic vegetables and fruits, but come the summer we receive wonderful donations of fresh produce from many gardens. Schools, churches, companies, and individuals are raising food for our clients. It is a delight to welcome gardeners when they bring their bounty to the Cupboard. I am sure to proudly tell clients which produce came from a local garden. These donations allow us to offer variety and new tastes to our clients. Even as a gardener I am surprised by yellow eggplant and red okra. The Cupboard is an important resource in the West Chester community!

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I feel strongly that no one should go hungry in this country of ours. We started supporting the cupboard by loading the back of our suv with cases of goods that we purchased at a big box store. It made us feel as though we were helping a little. We did this for several years and then realized that the cupboard could purchase more of what their clients wanted and needed. We started to donate financially. Last November we had an opportunity to meet the Board and other donors and volunteers and learn more. I started volunteering the next week. I have been associated with several non profits but I can honestly say that I am totally impressed with the all volunteer organization. All money collected goes to supporting our clients. Not a penny is spent on salaries. Our clients are a diverse group of people, some with children, some struggling to keep their heads above water and some are elderly individuals trying to survive on small social security allotments. As volunteers, we get much more than we give. I am humbled to be a member of this organization which is trying to make a difference one meal and one client at a time.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great friendly people! Everyone is always so helpful and they always try to conversate and interact with everyone.

Geoff4

Donor

Rating: 5

Why do we donate money to the WCFC? Because it is one of the best run nonprofit food providers to the needy in Chester County! The staff is knowledgeable, engaging, and show a deep empathy and compassion for their clients. Hunger is often invisible - the WCFC serves as a great beacon of help to those who otherwise would continue to suffer from lack of nourishment. Great job WCFC!

Geoff Scott, Ph.D.

Donor

Rating: 5

The West Chester Food Cupboard supports those who suffer from food insecurity in the West Chester School District. It is a very welcoming place for the clients and volunteers alike. The setup at the cupboard is very similar to what one would experience in a food store - aisles of food to walk through and make your own selections. This non-profit is filling a very important need as statistics show that almost 24% of the West Chester population lives below the poverty level. I am very proud to support such a well run organization.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting the West Chester Food Cupboard for a couple of years now, and I am extremely impressed with their dedication and their desire to help their clients. Some of their workers are there most days of the week, and/or work very long days there, but NONE of them are paid. And they are very conscientious about their clients' feelings and their needs. They try hard to make the experience comfortable for them, making it feel like they are doing their grocery shopping but without having to pay for the food. They do a wonderful job filling an important need in our community.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a donor who has just started volunteering at the Food Cupboard because I've been SO impressed with them. It is an all-volunteer operation, and believe me it is no easy job. But everyone jumps in and works very hard, and they help hundreds of families in the area. I really like that they are so conscientious about their clients, making sure that they get a good variety of fresh foods and allowing them to "shop" and choose what their families need and want, rather than just handing them a bag of food. They are excellent stewards of all their donations.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

People assume hunger only affects those who are homeless, but it's not always that way. It affects hard working families that struggling to feed their family nutritious food. Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but particularly devasting to children. Proper nutrition is critical to a child's development. "It's an issue, that if we come together as a community, we can solve. When volunteering at the West Chester Food Cupboard you become part of the community in solving this issue, as you reach out with kindness and compassion.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

West Chester Food Cupboard makes such a positive difference in people's lives. The clients are so appreciative. It's wonderful to be able to provide food and other household items to folks that really need it.
And the volunteers are amazing! Everyone works so hard-- the lead volunteers, the office staff, the drivers, the donors, the shelf-stockers, the client helpers, and many others. I'm so proud to be able to volunteer at this organization.
It's a win-win! A great community effort!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From Connie Gentile: I have been volunteering at this food cupboard for 15 years - previously it was Cares and in 2009 it became the West Chester Food Cupboard. I really enjoy my volunteering experience and look forward to every Tuesday when I come in to work with a great group of volunteers. I frequently greet individuals and groups that are bringing donations to the cupboard and I am also amazed at the amount of people thanking me when they bring in their donations! We could not do what we do without the support that we receive from the community. It is a group effort.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A real community supported food cupboard benefitting those families and individuals in our community who struggle to make ends meet. It is a joy to volunteer here.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with the West Chester Food Cupboard since 2010. I have had the priviledge to work along side many kind, and generous volunteers who give 110% of their time to make sure we are doing all we can to end hunger in Chester County. These past few years have given me a truer picture of the area where I live. The face of hunger is as close as and familiar as your next door neighbor. We live in a county that is rated a top county to live in, yet the West Chester Food Cupboard continues to serve over 600+ families a month. At the cupboard, volunteers work hard to prepare and stock the cupboard so the shopping experience can be a quick and pleasant shopping trip for our clients. We are able to offer our clients a variety of food such as fresh produce, frozen meats, frozen entrees, snacks and desserts. The food comes to us in many ways: food drives by organizations, personal family donations, store donations, churches, schools and corporations grow, maintain and harvest gardens and donate the fresh produce. The West Chester Food Cupboard would not exist if not for the all the individuals who continually think of others first and unselfishly give their time running food drives, collecting donations, stocking the pantry shelves, raising awareness at community events, working in the community gardens, writing grants, recruiting and scheduling volunteers, and taking clients around to shop. I have seen the cupboard grow from a tiny little cupboard hidden among store fronts to a colorful, inviting environment that is full of activity. Donors, volunteers and clients are able to easily locate the cupboard and that has enabled us to do more for our clients. Each week I am blessed to be at the cupboard, I have the opportunity to grow as an individual, the privilege to work alongside caring individuals and most importantly, to help make a difference in someone else's life. The West Chester Food Cupboard has and continues to do amazing things to help end hunger in Chester County!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at the Food Cupboard now for the past 3 years. Initially, the work was cleaning and stocking on days when there were no clients shopping. Later, I chose to switch to days when I could assist the clients as well. This was more appealing to me, to be able to see how those less fortunate cope with daily life. It has been enriching.

The highlight of my volunteer activity took place last year when my wife and I set up and ran a fundraiser for the Food Cupboard at the Boxcar Brew Pub in West Chester. We had four excellent bands donate their time and talent, ranging from Big Band music and Bluegrass, to Electric Blues and an Eighties Reunion group. Money was collected at the door, and we eventually took in $2000. All of this was put to good use by the Food Cupboard, whose entire staff are unpaid volunteers, assuring a very low overhead with very grateful clientele.

Writer

Donor

Rating: 5

This is the best "feel good about your donation" nonprofit that directly benefits the community and the most deserving and needy in West Chester. The facility is well run, the food cupboard is extensive with support from businesses and individual donors, it now includes fresh produce and good food with recipes for better food choices and meal planning! Each month I smile to know my donation is put to the best of use! This is a nonprofit that should be the model for operation of all the others!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for a few years . The Food Cupboard is a great place to volunteer not only because of the service they provide, but because they're so accommodating to their volunteers' time. We can work as much or as little as we'd like; that's great for those of us who still have regular jobs. It is so gratifying to hear the clients express their thanks for all the food and all we do. We try to make them have a good experience at the Food Cupboard. After talking to someone from another state who works with people who use similar food services, I was surprised and pleased to hear that we are able to offer so much to our clients. We give them an overflowing grocery cart full of food, while the people in the other state are lucky to get two grocery bags full!! The volunteere who are in charge at the Food Cupboard deserve much praise...they give selflessly and generously!

Donor

Rating: 5

We donate extra food from our garden to the West Chester Food Cupboard. The staff there are always friendly and helpful. We are very glad the WC Food Cupboard is in our community to help those in need.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for nearly 4 years and before that, I worked in downtown West Chester for many years. Like many outsiders, I knew that Chester County was the wealthiest county in Penna and usually thought of West Chester as the glitzy part of town, where the bars, restaurants and boutiques were. I knew there were poor people here but until I started working at the WCFC, I didn't realize how many there were. We are really helping people who need it and in most cases are sincerely grateful. I'm also proud to work With a wonderful band of volunteers and to see the help we get from people in the community who give us food, be it soup or spaghetti, or bring us carrots or lettuce from their gardens.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at the food cupboard for over two years. I have found the entire experience to be much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I enjoy taking the clients around and also working with the other volunteers. The volunteers come from various backgrounds and strive to make it a pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Linda363

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with West Chester Food Cupboard since it opened and with its predecessor before that. The volunteers for this organization are some of the most dedicated and caring individuals I know. They truly are "neighbors helping neighbors" as they treat the clients of the cupboard with respect and kindness. The West Chester area is blessed to have such an organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The West Chester Food Cupboard is a special place. If you come as a client, you will shop for a wide variety of food; but, more than that, you'll be treated in a friendly and respectful way. If your role is as a volunteer, you'll work with a wonderful group who give new meaning to "dedication" and "teamwork." What's not to like?

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During the three years I've been volunteering at WCFC, there has always been a team effort to welcome and assist clients and to keep the shelves stocked and orderly. Clients frequently express their appreciation for not only the groceries, but for the volunteers' kindness and assistance.

Donor

Rating: 5

West Chester Food Cupboard provides focused support for local residents in need of food supplements.
The first visit to the Food Cupboard provided visual conformation of a well-run caring community organization. The look of appreciation and expressions of "Thank You" from both the volunteers and the recipients of support left a lasting positive impression.

Annual contribution to WC Food Cupboard is a joyful experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at the WCFC for a few months and am so very impressed with the level of commitment by every volunteer. Everyone is there to help contribute to the welfare of families in need. The donations range from dairy fresh milk and locally grown produce to meats, poultry, and canned goods. It is truly a full shopping experience for all the families served. West Chester is truly blessed to be able to provide this service for its community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for a little over two years now and I look forward to the time I spend there. Working with the group of volunteers at WCFC is enjoyable as everyone recognizes we are there to help ensure "no one should go hungry." The results are obvious in the satisfaction of the clients and the number of donors, both individuals and organizations. It really gives me a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked here for many years and the growth has been amazing! We've now added milk, cheese, meats and eggs that we didn't have before because of the generosity of so very many people, all volunteers! I just enjoy coming to work and seeing the smiling faces on both the clients and the volunteers. We Always go away knowing that we have been a help to many people.

Irene N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer for at the WCFC for 6 yrs. and I love it. I love the wide variety of food, especially produce, that we can offer to members of the community. The clients are very grateful and that's all the reward I need.

Donor

Rating: 5

We like to give money donations directly to the WC Food Cupboard because they put virtually all that money into the purchase of food for the many families who come every month for help. Our organization has an annual project to help fight hunger close to home.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at the West Chester Food Cupboard is a very rewarding experience. WCFC is 100% volunteer run and everyone shares a strong passion to help those less fortunate than ourselves. WCFC volunteers work hard every day to make sure that West Chester PA residents who need food have a place to get it. I love volunteering at WCFC!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering at the West Chester Food Cupboard! The local community is very generous in donating money, store gift cards and food, and so we are able to serve over 600 households every month with good food.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer food donation pickup driver. I love it when I pull up to the cupboard and a "pit crew" of volunteer workers rushes out to empty my vehicle, weigh the food, sort it, freeze it, and put it on the shelves for shoppers. This food cupboard is fantastic resource for families in West Chester.