Somerset County Mobile Food Bank was founded when the barriers in a rural county such as ours were realized for people to get food that they could regularly afford for their families.

Taking our truck into smaller towns throughout Somerset County helps to limit the amount of driving people need to do to receive food. Studies found that people shopping in smaller grocery stores instead of larger chain stores were paying consistently higher prices which is one of the reasons that SCMFB was founded.

Our History

Pastor Barry Ritenour of Bethany Methodist Church in Somerset interned with the GPCFB in the summer of 2011 and did a survey of the costs of different food items in stores in the outlying areas of Somerset County. He noticed that folks were having a difficult time getting adequate food and investigated how this impacted area residents. Based on 100 lbs. of food each week, Pastor Ritenour found that folks who live outside of Somerset proper had to pay between $3,500-$5,000 more per year to purchase the same food as those who live near or in Somerset, where residents could buy food at Walmart or Giant Eagle.

Somerset County Mobile Food Bank (SCMFB) was established in 2012 based on the significant barriers faced by residents in our rural county when it came to accessing affordable food options for their families. Our mission centers around reducing the burden of travel for individuals seeking nutritious food options. By dispatching our mobile food truck to various smaller towns across Somerset County, we strive to minimize the distances people must cover to obtain essential groceries.

Research demonstrates that those who shop at smaller, local grocery stores often contend with consistently higher prices compared to their counterparts who shop at larger chain stores. This insight serves as a driving force behind the inception of SCMFB, as we endeavor to alleviate the financial strain on our community by providing more cost-effective alternatives for food procurement.

Principal Partners

  • The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
  • Laurel Vista Farm

Board of Directors

  • President – Greg Will
  • Secretary – Mary Alice Emert
  • Treasurer – Martin Palguta, CPA
  • Tom Shaffer
  • Ken Soldano
  • Brian Whipkey
  • David Mahler
  • Julie Stanton
  • Ellis Nair
  • Grant Croyle
  • David Emert
  • Amy Will
  • Ian Mapes


  • Executive Director – Ben Tawney
  • Communications – Brian Whipkey
  • Drivers – Wayne Knopsnyder, David Moore and David Baker
  • Registration – Tom Shaffer
  • Facebook – Brian Whipkey and Ben Tawney
  • Food Purchasing – Ben Tawney
  • Volunteer Coordinator – Tom Shaffer
  • Warehouse – Ben Tawney