Welcome our new Lancaster Distribution Coordinator!

Power Packs Project is happy to introduce, Joyce Stephens, our new Distribution Coordinator for the Lancaster Warehouse. Joyce lives in Lititz with her husband and son. She has spent the last 10 years volunteering in schools, for Boy Scouts and as a member of the Junior League of Lancaster, PA, Inc. She has watched the program grow over the last 10 years and is excited to work with Power Packs.We are very excited to have Joyce as a member of our team.


Published:April 17, 2017 View Post

Founder/Board Member Takes the SNAP Challenge

Power Packs Project board member & founder, Joan Snyder Espenshade, accepted our #SNAPChallenge to live for one week on the same $4 a day for food and beverages that is allocated to individuals that are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps). She documented her experience in journal entries for social media to share with you now to build an understanding of the difficulties of maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet while living on a SNAP/food stamp budget.

• I started the SNAP Challenge today, living off the $4/day SNAP recipients receive. When shopping for five days of food, I realized a couple things: It took a lot of time to check prices, rethink my menu when I found a bargain, put food back when I went over budget (and I didn’t have hungry, tired children with me); it was difficult to buy “healthy” and the only fruit I got was $1 of apples; and using the store’s circular was helpful (also time consuming). It’s going to be an interesting week! #PowerUpSNAP

• I bought a 1 lb kielbasa for $3 for the SNAP Challenge and plan on getting 3 meals from it. TonightI am using it to make soup with carrots, potato, onions in chicken broth. Along with a corn muffin (Jiffy mix for .50), that’s dinner tonight. #PoweUpSNAP

• Left-over soup for lunch today. I am doing the SNAP Challenge alone, living off of $20 of groceries for 5 days. I am finding that there is very little variety. I bought 1 lb. kielbasa and will need to use it for 3 meals. Also got a canister of oatmeal for $1.39 and will be eating that for breakfast for a long time. Usually, I would add Raisins and brown sugar but they were certainly not in the budget. #PowerUpSNAP

• Ideally SNAP is used as a supplement to a family’s food budget. But in real life, their limited income must cover many needs (rent, utilities, transportation, childcare, required school uniforms, kid’s clothes and shoes, and grocery store purchases not covered by SNAP like detergents, soap, toilet paper, etc), That doesn’t allow much in the budget for food. Many parents face what I call Sophie’s Choice – do I feed my kids this weekend or make rent on Monday? So the reality is that, for many families, SNAP is how they feed their kids. #PowerUpSNAP

– Joan Snyder Espenshade, founder of Power Packs Project

Published:February 4, 2017 View Post

Job Openings Available at Power Packs Project

Please click the links below to check out the job openings available at Power Packs Project. 

Lebanon Distribution_Coordinator_Position

Lebanon Program Director



Published:January 5, 2017 View Post

Power Up Kids Banners on City Buildings Draw Attention


Published:December 31, 2016 View Post

Changing the Face of Hunger


Published:December 31, 2016 View Post

LNP Editorial on Power Packs Project


Published:December 31, 2016 View Post

We Challenge YOU to Take the SNAP Challenge

Did you know that more than 59,000 food-insecure people live right here in Lancaster County? Most these families are reliant on SNAP benefits to feed themselves. In 2014, an average 55,548 Lancaster County households received SNAP benefits.

As the largest school pantry program in the country Power Packs makes an impact on our community by providing weekend meals and nutritional information to nearly 1,700 food insecure families each week of the school year. Wondering how you can get involved to help end childhood hunger? Take the SNAP Challenge!

The Power Up Kids SNAP Challenge was developed to educate our community on the struggles that low-income and food-insecure families face each day. The SNAP Challenge provides an unique experience designed to shape individual’s understanding of the difficulties of maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet while living on a limited budget.

4 Steps to Take the SNAP Challenge:

  1. Shop your local grocery store. Purchase $4 in food/beverages per person, per day to last the week (for a family of 4).
  2. Journal to keep track of what you eat and drink.
  3. Share on social media using #PowerUpSNAP.
  4. Invite your friends and family to try the SNAP Challenge!

Tag us on social media and share using #PowerUpSNAP. Visit us online for more information on how to get involved!


Published:November 27, 2016 View Post

Join Us During The Extraordinary Give

Join us during Lancaster County’s largest day of online giving, the Extraordinary Give! On November 18, Power Packs will be at Annie Bailey’s Irish Pub & Restaurant from 4:00-8:00 p.m. with an interactive display, and information on how we empower families by providing healthy weekend meals so that children can come to school well-fed and ready to learn.

Celebrate this special night with us and show support to our local community. Give a little extra to those who need it most. At Power Packs our mission is to provide food, recipes and nutritional information over the weekends to feed food-insecure families throughout Lancaster County. Your donation, large or small, can help us eliminate hunger in Lancaster County:

$25 can help feed a family of six for two weeks.
$50 can educate and feed five families for a weekend.
$100 can provide weekend food to 40 children.

Together, we can take action to fight hunger in our community! To give a donation during The Extraordinary Give, visit us online at extragive.org. Go to PowerPacksProject.org for more information about the Power Packs Project mission.


Published:November 13, 2016 View Post

5 Facts You Need to Know About Childhood Hunger in Lancaster County

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘childhood hunger’? When most Americans think of childhood hunger, they think of the international food-scarcity crisis. What most Americans do not realize is that hunger is an epidemic happening right here. Even though Lancaster County is known for its lush agriculture and serves as one of the most productive agricultural communities in the nation, food insecurity is a problem here in our own backyard. Do you know the facts about hunger in Lancaster County?

  1. 59,000 people go hungry each year in Lancaster County.
  1. 11% of the Lancaster County population is food insecure.
  1. 18% of the Lancaster County food-insecure population are children under the age of 18.
  1. 7 million meals are missed by food-insecure families in the county due to a lack of resources to food.
  1. It only costs $3 to feed one person, one meal in Lancaster County.

For children, the cost of a missed meal has an effect on not only their health, but their opportunities for education and activity. According to The Center on Hunger and Poverty, hungry children have a hard time learning in school, have short attention spans and, suffer more absence due to illness. The vital role that nutrition plays in the ability of children to learn in school is central to the mission of eliminating childhood hunger.

At the Power Packs Project, we recognize the hunger crisis that is happening here in Lancaster County. We have made it our mission to improve the mental and physical health of the children in the program.  By providing our students parents with nutritious meals over weekends when the school breakfast and lunch programs are unavailable to them, we are working to make sure meals no longer go missed.

The fight to eliminate hunger nationwide, and here in Lancaster County, begins with education and awareness. Get involved with the effort by visiting Power Packs Project online.

Published:November 1, 2016 View Post

Quick, Fast & Affordable Recipes To Make This Fall

Fall can be the busiest time of the year for some families. With school starting back up, and activities in full swing, it’s hard to make a fast, nutritious, and cost efficient meal for your family. Check out some of our Power Packs Project recipes that you will want to make over and over again this Fall!

Rio Grande Skillet Dinner
Spice up a chilly Fall night with our Rio Grande Skillet Dinner. This all-in-one meal incorporates proteins, carbs and vegetables that will become a staple in your recipe book. The basic and convenient pantry ingredients paired with fresh produce is a low cost, quick and healthy dinner option for any night! Click here for the entire recipe.

Chicken Lasagna
Lasagna is a classic meal that can bring any family together. Our chicken lasagna meal is delicious, easy to make, and only costs $6! This home cooked meal is ready in only thirty minutes and is the perfect option for leftovers to enjoy the next day. Click here for the entire recipe.

Crockpot Pizza
Everyone loves pizza. Enjoy your favorite meal in no time with this easy-to-make crock pot recipe. The crock pot pizza only takes minutes to prepare, then the crockpot does the rest! Add your own toppings and make it fun for the whole family to get involved! Click here for the entire recipe.

Chicken Vegetable Stir-Fry With Pasta

All your kids favorites in one meal! Our chicken vegetable stir-fry with pasta recipe incorporates enough vegetables, fiber, and flavor to keep your family full and satisfied any night of the week. The total cost to prepare this meal only adds up to $4.50, making it affordable and fresh! Click here for the entire recipe.

For more low-cost, fresh, and fast recipes, please visit us online at powerpacksproject.org.


Published:October 26, 2016 View Post