Food Checkout Day

February 04, 1999

Food Checkout DayBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - For most of the 6 billion people on the planet, affordable food supplies are the exception rather than the rule.

In this country, however, the average family has earned enough money in 40 days to pay for it's food supply for the entire year. That's 10.7 percent of their annual income, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

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Tuesday, Feb. 9, the 40th day of the year, marks Food Checkout Day, an event that is being celebrated by the Franklin County Farm Bureau with a food drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, Pa. Other farm bureaus across the state are also collecting food and money to support the five Ronald McDonald Houses in Pennsylvania, according to Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Public Relations Manager Richard Prether.


In Germany and Japan, two of the world's most developed nations, people spend an average of 18 percent of their incomes on food, according to United Nations figures cited by Prether. The figure for Mexico is 33 percent, he said.

"We're very blessed," Prether said. While its takes 40 days for a family to earn the money to feed itself, it takes 129 to pay its federal, state and local taxes, he said.

Franklin County's 1,400 farms do their share in making food abundant and cheap in America. According to the Pennsylvania Agricultural Statistics Service, dairy farmers here produced 800 million pounds of milk and dairy products in 1997 to feed 1.5 million people, more than 10 times the county's population.

The 40 million pounds of apples picked in the county in 1997 were enough to feed 1.2 million people, and the county's beef and pork production were each enough to meet the per-capita consumption of 500,000 people, according to the state figures.

The 210 million pounds of eggs laid each year are enough to feed almost 900,000 people and the 18 million pounds of turkeys raised here are enough to meet the annual consumption of 1.3 million people.

In 1997 agricultural production in the county was worth $179 million, according to Franklin County Farm Bureau Information Director Carol A. Wingert.

The county bureau has 1,278 members, and there are more than 27,000 members across the state, Reichard said.

Daniel Bingaman Jr., a county farm bureau director from Waynesboro, Pa., said the food collected at nine locations will be delivered to Hershey on Tuesday.

"What we're trying to do is replenish the food pantries" for the Ronald McDonald Houses, said Frances Reichard, of Chambersburg, the chairman of the county farm bureau's Women's Committee. She said family members can stay at the houses for free when their children are undergoing treatment at the state's major hospitals.

Donations of food will be accepted through Saturday at fire halls in Mercersburg, Mont Alto, New Franklin, St. Thomas and Metal Township. Donations can also be taken to Hillside Poultry Farm, 1849 Letterkenny Road, Chambersburg; Home Town Movie Rentals, 4498 Lincoln Way West, St. Thomas, Pa.; Country WAYZ Radio, 10960 John Wayne Drive, Greencastle, Pa.; and Arthur's Country Deli, 3385 Wayne Road, Chambersburg.

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