I will be writing several future articles with information obtained and referenced from Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB), Feeding Pennsylvania (FP), and Feeding America (FA). In February, I mentioned that Second Harvest is collaborating with three Lehigh County Food Pantries with their Healthy Pantry Initiative (HPI) grant. Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is excited or be chosen as one of them.
Khushboo Jain, Nutrition Educator at SHFB says “The goal of HPI is to reduce long-term burden of diet related diseases through a “beyond food” approach.” The “beyond food” approach aims to devise long-term solutions to food insecurity by addressing all the factors that cause poverty (employment, wages, and other socioeconomic factors). So while providing participants with nutritious food is essential, HPI also supports our pantries with a network of community organizations so they can offer or refer participants to other services they may need to break that cycle of food insecurity.”
Below is to explain the cycle of food insecurity and chronic disease mentioned by Khushboo. This info comes directly from Feeding America https://tinyurl.com/2p9b5xbh
“The Hunger in America 2014 study found that many households served by the Feeding America® network of food banks include people coping with a diet-related chronic disease. Fifty-eight percent of households reported having at least one member with high blood pressure and 33 percent had at least one member with diabetes.
The cycle of food insecurity and chronic disease begins when an individual or family cannot afford enough nutritious food. The combination of stress and poor nutrition can make disease management even more challenging. Further, the time and money needed to respond to these health conditions strains the household budget, leaving little money for essential nutrition and medical care. This causes the cycle to continue, increasing the risk of worsening existing conditions. Many families experiencing food insecurity often have several, if not all, compounding factors, which make maintaining good health extremely difficult.”
WCHI has seen first-hand what compounding factors affect our Pantry guests. All are on fixed incomes. Our guests tell us they have to choose between food and a myriad of other expenses i.e. medicine and medical care; housing expenses: rent, taxes, and utilities. Current gas and food prices are also affecting them.
Feeding America continues on with the above article, “households must use coping strategies to meet their food needs, including: Purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food (79%), Receiving help from friends (53%); Watering down food or drinks (40%), Selling or pawning personal property (35%), and growing food in a garden (23%).
More than half (55%) of households served by the Feeding America network, reported having to use three or more coping strategies to deal with tough financial choices. Some of these coping strategies may support one’s health, but others that make sense in the short term can be detrimental to health in the long term. This is particularly true in households with children and among people who are already coping with a diet-related, chronic disease.”
Every month during our food distribution, our guests comment how grateful they are that WCHI is here to help them. All our volunteers understand the stresses our guests are experiencing as mentioned above. WCHI is proud to be achieving Our Mission: To alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay.
Thank you for reading my article and have a great week!!!
IMPORTANT REMINDER ABOUT WCHI’S APRIL FOOD PANTRY DISTRIBUTION DATES: Due to April 14th being a Holy Day, St John the Baptist Church has services in the evening and WCHI CANNOT provide our Food distribution on Thursday night. Instead the night distribution will be held on Wednesday, April 13th from 5:30-7:00pm. There is NO change for Thursday morning. Thursday, April 14th daytime distribution will remain as always 11am-1pm.
NOTE: WCHI is planning on moving our outdoor operations inside for the Thursday, May 12th food distribution with specified appointment times. Every guest attending either the April 13th or the April 14th food distribution will be given an appointment time card with a time slot for May. For guests who cannot attend our April distribution, please call me to schedule an appointment.
This move indoors is very exciting. And I will share more information as we get closer to the May distribution.
SPRING is here! Do you love to garden? The Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is in search of gardening enthusiasts who would enjoy adopting a raised garden bed in the WCHI GARDEN located at the Mickley-Prydun Farm, 3540 Ruch St, Whitehall. Individuals, families, community and faith based groups are invited to plant and maintain a raised garden bed throughout the 2022 growing season. We had a successful meeting at my office on Friday!! The WCHI will provide the soil, seeds and/or plants and a small sign at each bed thanking the gardener for participating at our garden. Water for the garden will be available thanks to the Hokendauqua Fire Department.
The volunteer gardeners will provide the physical work, energy and fun needed to harvest a bounty of produce. 16 small raised beds are available for planting. All harvested produce will be given to Whitehall and Coplay residents in need through our WCHI Children’s Summer Feeding Program and our WCHI Food Pantry. Interested volunteers should register at https://tinyurl.com/WCHIvolunteer All adult volunteers must complete state mandated child abuse clearances https://tinyurl.com/WCHIforms
Organize a group and adopt a raised garden bed! You’ll be gardening next to the house that was once the home of John Jacob Mickley, Sr., who brought the Liberty Bell by wagon from Philadelphia to Allentown for safekeeping from British troops during the Revolutionary War. Our garden can also be seen from the Ironton Rail Trail.
WCHI is in need of a used, but reliable lawnmower for the garden. And we always need toiletries for our Pantry distributions including: Baby and Adult Diapers, Feminine Products, Men’s and Women’s Razors, Men’s Shaving Cream, Shampoo & Conditioner, Soap, Tissues, Toilet Paper, Toothpaste, and Toothbrushes.
All Donations are appreciated and may be shipped or dropped off at Re/Max Unlimited Real Estate, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052. Please leave your donations inside the foyer on the right, Monday through Friday 9AM- 5PM, Saturday 9AM-1PM & Sunday 10AM-1PM.
Please call me on any of the above items. Thank you, as always, for your continued support.