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The 570 Food Lovers Group continues to grow, connecting people to food, to the community, and to local organizations.

The 570 Food Lovers Facebook Group has grown to over 11,000 members since its start in 2018. The group acts as a community resource in a variety of ways: engaging people in thoughtful conversation about food; inspiring people to try new restaurants and new recipes; keeping people updated on hours, closings, special offers.

The group's founder and current Facebook administrator, Jessica Barnes, shared the journey of the group and how it went from her personal interest to a community service.

Barnes found pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup, at a Williamsport shop. "I needed other people to know how cool that was and that they could also go get some," said Barnes. 

Barnes' example is exactly what 570 Food Lovers accomplishes everyday; it exposes people to local food options — the ones with far less advertising reach than mainstream chains.

Recognition of local businesses can also involve recognition of cultural traditions displayed through food, such as Barnes' exposure to authentic Pho, which likely indicates the presence of an Asian American population in Williamsport. In that way, a diversity of food options can remind people of the diversity in our communities.

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Vietnamese Pho includes slow-cooked broth, often flavored with lime, dried herbs and spices, rice noodles, fresh herbs, and a meat of choice.

Once the page's following started to take off, Barnes had to adjust. "At first it was just a few of my more supportive friends, but I eventually took on my other administrator, Lucas Dalessandro, when I felt there were just too many people for one person to handle," said Barnes.

Despite the commitments of serving as administrator, Barnes is grateful for her role in the group, viewing every new development as a "proud moment." 

The group isn't just about eating food; it's about giving food back. "People tell us all the time that it's how they choose where to go for dinner. Not only that, but we've raised money for the central Pa food bank as well, which was a really proud moment for all of us," explained Barnes.

"I think the group has incredible value to the community. People have said we helped them stay open during COVID, and that's another thing we're super proud of. I encourage every community to do something similar."


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