Greater Washington County food bank along Route 40 near Centerville

A day before Thanksgiving, a member of the state cabinet visited the Centerville-based Greater Washington County Food Bank.

During his visit, Secretary Dennis Davin of the Department of Community and Economic Development announced a grant to the food bank of $104,500 toward using solar and taking other steps to cut its energy costs.

The grant is part of the agency’s Neighborhood Assistance Program. The program involves giving private companies state tax breaks of up to 80% of their investment as an incentive for them to spend money in areas considered distressed. In this case, contributors included UPMC, a nonprofit health care system with a for-profit insurance branch; Washington Financial and Northwest Bank.

In a press release, Davin said the grant helps fulfill the program’s purpose, namely to fund projects that have a “meaningful and significant impact” on host communities.

“This grant will pay dividends moving forward for both the food bank and the community, allowing the food bank to reduce its energy costs in order to support more families in need,” Davin said.

Documents related to the grant said the food bank spent $30,000 last year for its $26,500-square-foot facility. Among the goals of the grant is for the food bank to implement renewable energy sources at its farm, which grows fresh produce for clients.

“The Greater Washington County Food Bank appreciates this additional funding, which will allow us to reduce our energy footprint, engage the community and allocate resources that will further our mission to support the food insecure of Washington County,” said Connie Burd, executive director of the nonprofit.

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