Jan. 14—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — The Greater Johnstown School District food service department was recently recognized by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
The group was presented with the gold level of the food agency's Child Hunger Hero Award Program for efforts to increase food access for children in their service area.
"We put a lot of work and effort into this and we just do it for the kids," Greater Johnstown senior Food Service Director Dave Trotz said.
Food bank partners were evaluated on the programs offered during the summer of 2021 and/or the school year programs for the 2021-22 year to address food insecurity.
They were then awarded a bronze, silver or gold certification based on the results, "all of which indicate exceptional service."
Trotz said Greater Johnstown's level was based on the student participation in breakfast and dinner programs at the schools and the summer feeding program.
He said Greater Johnstown has excellent participation in all of its in-school food programs — a combined 78%. The programs are free because of the level of poverty in the district.
At the summer program, there were 14 sites that distributed 61,695 meals last year, he said, and the staff provided 6,065 dinners.
Additional considerations included the district's work with the Cambria County Backpack Project as well as community food distributions last year.
Trotz said he knows that in some cases those are the only meals the children got some days.
Trotz and his team were recognized for their work and for receiving the community award at the January school board meeting.
"We are so proud of Dave and his team," Superintendent Amy Arcurio said. "I can't think of anyone more deserving of this gold level award."