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Westminster College Freshmen Harvest Corn for Food Bank

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College freshmen spent an afternoon in September harvesting corn at Apple Castle as part of an "Inquiry" course and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank's gleaning program.

According to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank's 2012 Hunger Profile of Lawrence County, during the 2010-2011 fiscal-year approximately 6,054 people were served food each month in the county and the Food Bank distributed over 1.4 million pounds of food throughout the county. Over 600,000 of that had been donated to the Food Bank.

The gleaning program is just one of the ways that the Food Bank is able to supply this food. The gleaning season runs from July to November. Each gleaning session lasts about three hours. During their glean session, the students picked 5000 pounds of corn. Apple Castle donated and distributed all the corn to approximately 500 families in New Castle who rely on the food bank to supplement their family diet.

In connection to the experience at Apple Castle, the students watched Food Stamped, a recent documentary which examines the difficulties associated with eating a healthy diet on a food stamp budget.

"By participating in the Food Bank's gleaning program, my students were able to support a program in their local community that addresses this issue by providing free, fresh produce to qualifying families," said Dr. Sherri Pataki, associate professor of psychology and course instructor.

"Inquiry" is part of the First-Year Program at Westminster College. The program is an innovative educational experience required of all new students. It is designed to introduce them to the philosophy and practice of a liberal arts education and equip them with skills essential to their success at college and in life beyond Westminster College. The program seeks to develop the whole student, and thus involves both academics and the social and co-curricular opportunities.

This course is one of three in the program, the other two being Writing 111 and Speech 111: Introduction to Public Communications. At the end of the introduction to liberal arts course students are expected to be able to articulate and practice the values and methods of a liberal arts education; engage and explain different ways of knowing; and pursue interdisciplinary study and discussion of important issues.

Contact Pataki at (724) 946-7361 or email for additional information. 

For more information about the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank visit