The first set of weekend meals went home with 250 students on Friday, September 13.
"The numbers are always down at the beginning of the [school] year," said program coordinator Judy Beiler.
Beiler helps organize the Solanco Food Bank's SWEEP program.
For decades, the Solanco Food Bank has been providing food for people in the Southern End.
Now a partnership with the Humane League of Lancaster County allows the food bank to help pets as well.
The food is provided by the league's Spike's Pet Pantry, a pet food bank program to help owners in need.
If you can drive it or ride it and want to share it, the Lancaster County Cruisers has a show for you.
Early next month, the club will host its 20th annual show. The event is open to cars, trucks, and cycles.
As with previous shows, the club will donate a portion of the show's income to Solanco Neighborhood Ministries to help fund the non-profit's food bank.
In January, the federal supplemental food assistance program SNAP, commonly known as food stamps, made a double payment.
Meant to offset the effects of the partial federal government shutdown, the second payment came nearly a month early for families who receive the benefit.
That has meant some families will go six weeks or longer without new support.
Nationwide, that has put an additional burden on food banks. So far, that effect has not reached the Solanco Food Bank.
Judy Beiler is getting ready for the first weekend food distribution for elementary and middle school students.
The food, enough for two dinners, two lunches, two breakfasts, and snacks, goes home with kids on Fridays. The free program is available to children who are in the free breakfast or lunch program at Solanco's four elementary schools, sixth grade in the district's two middle schools, and Martic Elementary in the neighboring Penn Manor School District.
Each year, the challenge is different.
In 2016, a pastor agreed to either run or walk from Zion United Church of Christ, 900 Winter Hill Rd., to Mt. Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church on May Post Office Rd. Last year, one pastor had to sing the other pastor's favorite hymn during a hymn sing in September.
Santa will be making another early stop in the Southern End.
He will be at the Quarryville Fire Company station, 217 E. State St., on Friday evening, December 15, to spend time with children and their parents.
Volunteer firefighters will provide crafts and cookies and give parents time to take pictures with Santa.
A few members of each congregation knows which one collected the most food for the Solanco Food Bank.
They won't say if the members of Mt. Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church or the congregation of Zion United Church of Christ provided the most food during the annual competition between the two churches.
Solanco Neighborhood Ministries is best known for its emergency food programs.
The nonprofit operates the Solanco Food Bank for families in need and also runs the weekly SWEEP food program for hungry children in the region.
This year, families participating in a local summer food program will also have a chance to grow some of their own produce.
by Hannah Pollock
This year it’s going to the middle schools.
Until now, the SWEEP weekend food program has only been available to elementary students. Starting later this month, it will expand to include sixth graders at the Swift and Smith middle schools.
Teresa Dolan needed someone to build a fence around the Solanco Food Bank's garden.
Kyle Phipps, a member of Boy Scout Troop 91, Chestnut Level, was looking for an Eagle Scout project.
Now the food bank has its fence and Phipps is one step closer to achieving scouting's highest rank.
Musser's Market's third annual drive to benefit the Solanco Food Bank brought in $7,272 for the non-profit.
The company contributed matching funds to the drive, to a maximum of $3,000, said Brian Musser.
"It's not about me."
That's how Geri Vick sees her volunteer work coordinating the Solanco Food Bank.
It's also an opinion fellow volunteers, and now a much larger group, don't share.
Spectators are accustomed to people handing out bags of chips, bottles of water, and other items from floats and commercial entries in the annual Solanco Fair parade.
This year, Solanco Neighborhood Ministries wants to reverse the process.
"We're asking for people to pay it forward," said board member Marlin Nafziger. "We're asking them to give, not to get."
Members of the ministry want spectators to bring canned and other nonperishable food items to donate to the Solanco Food Bank, one of the nonprofit's outreach programs.