The EFP’s mission is to provide emergency food assistance to people residing in the greater Harrisburg area. We are one of the largest food pantries in Dauphin County in terms of volume of people served and are one of the few that provides access to emergency food assistance at least five days per week. We are proud to be one of the oldest, continually operating food pantries in central Pennsylvania. The EFP is a volunteer-led organization with our Board of Directors and other volunteers working closely with our part-time Executive Director. We thrive as a result of financial, food, and volunteer support from valued partners, including churches, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals.

The EFP was founded in 1972 in response to the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Agnes to the city of Harrisburg. At that time, members of Messiah Lutheran Church stepped in to provide emergency food assistance to those in need. The EFP continues to do so nearly 50 years later, from our original location in Messiah Lutheran Church in downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The EFP does not discriminate on basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion or any other characteristic protected by law.


The EFP is a volunteer-led organization. Our Board of Directors provides primary oversight and leadership to the organization, working closely with our Executive Director. The EFP could not serve community members in need without our team of approximately 150 volunteers. We are always looking to grow the ranks of our much valued volunteers!


The majority of the EFP’s food supply is obtained from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, with a significant portion of our operating budget tied to state and federal grant dollars to be spent there. We also receive food from Midwest Food Bank. We receive food and personal items as well as money to purchase those items through generous donations.


U.S. Census data indicates that the poverty rate among Harrisburg City residents is 26.5%, representing 13,285 individuals . Dauphin County has a food insecurity rate of 11.4% which represents 31,330 individuals according to data provided by Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, the EFP distributed food to more than 3,750 households and approximately 12,700 individuals. In the first six months of the 2022/2023 fiscal year, we already have served over 3,900 households and over 14,000 individuals.


The Ecumenical Food Pantry is a tax-exempt organization operating under Messiah Lutheran Church’s IRS section 501(c)(3) status.