About the Food Bank

The Perry County Food Bank exists to provide wholesome and nutritional supplemental food to Perry County families in need
and to provide education about foods, food preparation, nutrition, health, wellness, and self-sufficiency in a dignified manner.


 Mary Ann Brownawell, Executive Director   •   Valerie Shields, Administrative Assistant  •  Matt Buck, Driver

Active Volunteer Base — 80

The Perry County Food Bank operates under the Join Hands Ministry Corporation and the Perry County Commissioners.  The Perry County Food Bank is an emergency food pantry located in a facility on the Perry County Prison grounds.  The primary goal is to help supplement the food budgets of qualified Perry County households, the income of which must not exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  Eligible residents are offered a variety of food in a grocery-store atmosphere – fresh produce, dairy products, canned and boxed items, and meat, as well as a small amount of personal care products, the last of which are secured through community giving.  In addition to the emergency food pantry hours, the Perry County Food Bank operates eight outlying food bank distribution sites, which distribute food on the third Saturday of each month with the exception of the Blain and Millerstown sites which distribute on the Friday before the third Saturday.


In the early 1980’s a letter was received from South Central Food Bank regarding a cheese-giveaway for seniors. The Office for Aging administered this program until 1984 at which time they no longer had the means to continue.

In 1984 County Commissioner Ed Kennedy contacted his Pastor and the County Church Ministerium and they agreed to administer the food distribution program. Pastor Rosenberger was the contact person until 1987 when Pastor Hefner of Newport took over the responsibility.

Commissioner Kennedy also contacted the National Guard and they agreed to transport the food from Harrisburg, which they continued to do until 1986 when Campbell’s Trucking agreed to take this on at no charge.

In 1990 when Pastor Hefner could no longer do the administration of the program, the County contracted with Tri-County Commission for Community Action. The food bank was located in Newport until 1997.

In 1997 the food bank came back to the County to administer and Carol Ulsh was hired as a part time coordinator at its new location in the Old Jail Building in New Bloomfield. Marian Auman worked as her part time clerk.

2001 Carol Ulsh resigned and Barbara Welliver-Bramer was hired as the part time coordinator. Boyd Sheaffer was hired part time to help out and when Marian Auman resigned, Carol Charles began as a volunteer and was hired in 2006 as a part time clerk. Frank Penn was hired part time in 2005.

The County began to plan a new food bank building. Since the County did not have the funds to attempt this project, it looked to the Community Development Block Grant Program, and was able to receive funding from FY2004, FY2005, FY2007, FY2008 and FY2009 to build this new facility which sets on county property.

2008 Barbara resigned and the County entered into an agreement with Join Hands Ministry to administer the food bank. On September 1, 2008, Harry Overholtzer took over as the new coordinator of the food bank which was now a cooperative effort between Join Hands Ministry and the Perry County Commissioners.

In April of 2009, the food bank moved from its home in the old Perry County Prison on McClure Street in New Bloomfield to a new facility, provided by the county, adjacent to the new Perry County Prison on South Carlisle Street. The facility was designed specifically as a food bank with a large parking lot, handicapped access, a waiting room, customer intake area, a shopping facility, and warehouse areas. With the new building, customers were able to “shop” for items instead of receiving a pre-packed box of food.

Harry Overholtzer retired on December 1, 2011 and was replaced by Bonnie Duncan who had been employed as an office assistant. Bonnie continued as coordinator until December of 2012 when she resigned to take other employment.

Retired school teacher John Kiner, who had been volunteering at the food bank for several years, became the new coordinator in January, 2013. In June, 2013, long-time volunteer Linda Bates came onboard and joined John as a co-director. Two part-time directors insured that there would be continuity in the leadership of the everyday operations of the food bank.

On July 1, 2019, Linda Bates left to spend more time with increased family obligations. Mary Ann Brownawell replaced Linda as Assistant Director.

On January 1, 2020 Mary Ann Brownawell replaced John Kiner as executive director as John retired after 10 years.


Historical Statistics Summary (2008-2013)


            7,641 total families served
            19,023 individuals

            9,578 total families served
            23,439 individuals

            11,291 total families served
            28,385 individuals


           12,394 total families served
           32,142 individuals

            13,404 total families served
            34,259 individuals


            14,045 total families served
            34,065 individuals


            14,455 total families served
            34,823 individuals


            14,209 total families served
            34,768 individuals


            14,584 total families served
            35,696 individuals


            14,503 total families served
            35,008 individuals


            13,721 total families served
            32,532 individuals


            12,894 total families served
            31,169 individuals