I was inspired after seeing this Facebook post (https://bit.ly/2MV69jH) that featured a restaurant in Louisiana that allowed community members to prepay for meals for people and families who are hungry but can't afford to eat. I imagine there's a similar need in State College, especially during this economic downtown. In short, we can ask local townspeople (and Penn Staters who no longer live in the area) to contribute money that'll pay for meals for community members and families who are in need and can't afford to pay for meals.
This program has two clear benefits: one for our community members who are in need but can't financially afford to regularly pay for meals, and one for our local restaurants that are being significantly hit with the loss of a home football season (at least with fans being able to attend and tailgate while visiting town) and the loss of tourism and visitors for more than a year now. Even for Penn Staters who want to give back but don't live in State College, they can go online and buy meals for community members while also supporting locally owned establishments.
I could also easily envision local partners who would be interested in helping us promote this program and also possibly help us with fundraising. Really, this is a win-win for everyone involved. People in need will be fed and nourished, local restaurants will receive an economic benefit, and along the way, we'll also have an opportunity to work with local shelters and food banks, as possible partners.
I have an extensive communications and marketing background, and I'd welcome the opportunity to develop ways that we can create a tremendous amount of interest and attention, so that folks who want to give back can see a clear connection to how their gift (as little as $10) will have an impact in their own community.
Funded by State College, PA (March 2021)