Our Mission: The mission of The Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is to alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay.
A 2013 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) given to 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grade students in the Whitehall-Coplay School District (WCSD) identified hunger as one of the four risk factors requiring attention. At this time, 16.1% of 6th grade students worried about where their next meal was coming from and 12th graders skipped at least one meal a week.
In August of 2014, Shari Noctor attended a Communities that Care (CTC) meeting and became the chairperson, addressing Hunger in Whitehall and Coplay.
In February 2015, a partnership was formed with Second Harvest (the Federal Food Supplier) and Leah Saliby, a WCSD teacher, to create the Snack Pack Pal program. This program provides the most food insecure children with additional food on long weekends and holidays (Thanksgiving, Winter Holiday, Martin Luther King and President’s Day weekends and Spring break).
In October 2015, a separate division of the CTC was established called the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI). Partnering with local faith-based organizations, the WCHI began with free community meals the third Tuesday of each month, for community residents who benefited from socialization and nutrition.
In 2017, WCHI ran a 10-week free summer breakfast camp for food insecure school age children in Whitehall. Children attended Monday thru Friday, 8:30-10:00 a.m. and received a hot or cold breakfast, and experienced camp activities as well as 15 minutes of required reading to enhance reading skills. Children left daily with a bagged lunch and on Fridays received extra food for the weekend.
During this year the WCHI secured their 501c3 tax status.
Community meals served 1300 guests, Summer Breakfast Camp provided 1610 meals and the Snack Pack Pals program provided 1600 food packs totaling over 26,000 food items.
In 2018, additional summer breakfast camps were added and two remain to date, one in Whitehall and one in Coplay.
In 2020 Covid-19 happened. The WCHI created a Community Outreach Program (COP) which provided food to children, adults, and seniors in Whitehall and Coplay.
A new Mickley Run Outreach Program, initiated by Shari Noctor, will be geared to the children residing in Mickley Run Apartments.
In January 2021, we were able to open the WCHI Food Pantry, located at St. John the Baptist on Ruch Street in Whitehall.
In June 2021, we opened six sites throughout Whitehall and Coplay to provide food to children in low income households, a baby through age 18, while school was closed for the summer. We provided food every Monday and Wednesday for 10.5 weeks. WCHI provided a total 1,504 bags of food for the children, 417 bags in June, 517 bags in July, and 570 bags in August. WCHI was pleased to provide 8,377 pounds of food for the children including 651 pounds of fresh vegetables from the WCHI Garden!!!
Today, we continue our partnerships with Communities that Care, Second Harvest, our faith-based community meal providers, summer breakfast programs and Leah Saliby and Mary Spieker’s Snack Pack Pal programs at Whitehall-Coplay School District and St. Elizabeth Regional School among many others.
WCHI Public Meetings: All are invited on the 4th Tuesday of the month (no meeting in December) in our Pantry, 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall from 11AM-12:30PM. Park in the back parking lot and walk down the driveway between the school and the rectory and come in the first door on the left.