Just a reminder, our next Free Community Meal is on Sunday, January 2nd, 4:00-6:30 pm at the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley (MALV), 1988 Schadt Ave, Whitehall. This is guaranteed for the 1st 100 guests and will be pickup only. Questions call Deeba 703-346-8698.
I would like to review what a wonderful year the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI) accomplished to help so many low income households in Whitehall and Coplay. I tried to create a Roseto story here with residents helping their neighbors, friends, and family. WCHI has achieved this goal. Thank you!!
WCHI began in 2015 and received our 501c3 charitable organization status in 2017. We offer many Outreach Programs and I will address the work we have completed in 2021:
First, I want to recognize the 65 adult volunteers that obtained all our required clearances. Most of our clearances are Child Abuse ones required by PA State Law. Since we work with everyone in the household including children and offer children’s programs, all adult volunteers must provide copies of our requirements before they are permitted to work with us. These adults along with many middle and high school students, who need community service hours, assist us by sorting, packing, and distributing food for many of our programs. We could not do any of our Outreach Programs without these selfless and committed volunteers, who always have a smile on their faces and want to help wherever they are needed.
Thank you to all our monetary, food, and toiletry donors along with our community partners including Whitehall-Coplay Press, Second Harvest Food Bank, Lehigh County, Diocese of Allentown, our faith based partners, DanJon Management, WCSD, Whitehall Twp and Coplay Boro along with a myriad of service organizations including Knights of Columbus, Whitehall Lions, Whitehall Rotary, Minsi Trail Boy Scouts, Whitehall & Coplay Libraries, local businesses, and so many others. Without products to provide, WCHI could not help so many in our community. We also have many silent contributors, who drop off product daily at my office. I do not know who you are to personally thank you. We need and appreciate all of you!!
The Pantry opened on January 14th with outside bagged food distribution held monthly on the 2nd Thursday in the parking lot at St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Whitehall. In 2021, we registered 393 households. Not everyone comes monthly. We provide enough food to prepare 5 meals per person. We had a total yearly attendance of 5,361 people which includes adults, children and seniors for a total of 26,805 meals provided.
Children’s Summer Feeding Program (CSFP) ran at six locations (5 in Whitehall and 1 in Coplay) from June 16th-August 25th. WCHI provided 1,504 bags of food for a total of 7,726 meals to Whitehall and Coplay low income children. There were five different bags of food items provided on a rotating basis to the children throughout the summer.
OUR WCHI garden located at the Mickley-Prydun Farm was cultivated by Anne Chickilly and her husband Erik Sagan. They grew 680 pounds of fresh vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, banana peppers, and zucchini. Fresh vegetables were provided to the children at our CSFP.
WCHI administers the Snack Pack Pal Program (SPP) with assistance from WCSD and St Elizabeth’s Regional School. The mission is to combat hunger for the most food -insecure students at both schools by providing a pack of kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare meals and snacks to supplement their nutrition over school holidays and long weekends. On average, WCHI provided 157 bags of shelf-stable food to WCSD and 10 bags to St Elizabeth’s monthly.
Our Free Community Meals are provided by our Whitehall and Coplay Faith Based Partners on the 1st Sunday and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 4:00-6:30pm while supplies last for low-income households. Hot meals are provided by the host church for 100 guests on a 1st come 1st serve basis. The host location decides if the meals will be pickup only, inside sit down meal, or a combo of both. These meals are well attended.
Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!!
College students will be on holiday break this week so I wanted to talk a little about College Student Hunger. No one thinks about this, but college hunger is prevalent in the Lehigh Valley and throughout the country. Many local college students are living at home and commuting for classes. This article is to inform you that this type of food insecurity does exist and how the student can possibly obtain some relief through SNAP benefits.
The info below is coming from https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/students along with some additional info from me. Please share this info.
Most SNAP eligibility rules apply to all households, but there are some special rules for students attending an institution of higher education that are described here. If you are not a student, you should read the general SNAP eligibility rules. (I discuss SNAP, in general, further down in the article).
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 temporarily expanded student eligibility to new groups from January 16, 2021 through the end of the public health emergency. (We are still in this emergency period). The new, temporary change to student eligibility means that certain students who were not eligible for SNAP before, may now be eligible. See the next two paragraphs.
Eligibility for State or Federally Financed Work Study: Under SNAP regular rules, only students who actually participate in State or Federally financed work study are eligible. The new, temporary exemption expands SNAP eligibility to students who are eligible to participate in work study during the regular school year, without the requirement that they actually participate. For the purposes of this temporary exemption, States may consider all students eligible if they are eligible for work study and attend an institution of higher education that participates in a State or Federal work study program (including the FFWS program). The institution of higher education makes the determination as to whether a student is eligible to participate in a work study program.
Expected Family Contribution of 0 (Zero): Students must have an EFC of 0 in the current academic year to meet this exemption. The EFC is calculated for award years on a July 1-June 30 calendar, but institutions of higher education may have academic years that vary from this specific timeframe. For purposes of this temporary exemption, the EFC of 0 must be for the current academic year, as defined by the institution of higher education, in which the individual is enrolled.
The following info is on SNAP, in general. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called Food Stamps) helps low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health. SNAP benefits come in the form of a debit card that can be used to buy food at most grocery stores, and even some farmers’ markets. During the past year, Pennsylvania increased the income allowances for families, seniors and the disabled to qualify for SNAP from 130% of poverty to 160%.
Unfortunately, it is estimated that up to one-third of those eligible for SNAP are not receiving benefits. This includes college students, adults with or without children, and seniors. To help more people apply for SNAP benefits, Second Harvest Food Bank operates a “Food Stamps over the Phone” outreach service. To find out if you are eligible for and to actually apply for SNAP Benefits, please contact Kathryn Hoffman, SNAP Outreach Coordinator, at Second Harvest Food Bank 484-821-2406 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WCHI needs the following food items: JIF peanut butter pods, Oatmeal packets, 8oz and 32oz Shelf stable milk, 24oz Pancake syrup, 18oz Jelly (both plastic jars), cereal, and fruit snacks. Please drop off or mail to my RE/MAX Unlimited office, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052
THANK YOU for helping the residents of Whitehall and Coplay. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!
WCHI’s next Free Community Meal is on Tuesday, December 21st at St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 835 Third St, Whitehall from 4:00-6:30pm. Note: the meals are guaranteed for the 1st 100 guests. Sometimes the meals are totally disbursed by 6 pm and the church closes. Directions: at the old school building on Third St south of Grape St, turn on Quarry St, and turn right into the parking lot. Follow to the alley, turn right, and stop at the church door by the ramp to receive your meal. Questions, please call
I took some of the food items below from a Taste of Home 2018 article that mentions items to donate to your local food pantry https://tinyurl.com/2p89mbep I believe these items originally came from Feeding America. Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) provides most of these staples to their member food pantries. SHFB and WCHI are providing healthy foods as much as possible. I liked this article because it shows why everyone should have these specific items in their kitchen pantry.
Note: Canned food will last at least 5 years past its best buy date and dry goods up to 2-3 years.
WCHI can always use instant mashed potatoes and canned soup. Please ship or drop of at my Re/Max Unlimited office, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052.
Have a great week and Happy Holidays!!
I am so proud that WCHI is helping so many Whitehall and Coplay residents. We are definitely achieving our Mission to alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay.
Our next food distribution is this Thursday, December 9th in the St John the Baptist Church parking lot, 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall from 11am -1pm and again from 5:30-7:00pm. We are hopeful that we can be inside for January. I will give you more information on this as we get closer to the January 13th distribution date.
From our September to November pantry distributions, we jumped 40% with the number of households we served -- 146 in September, 186 in October and 205 in November. We also had a huge increase in new household registrations -- 49 in September, 55 in October, and 41 in November. And we also served 30 households last month with 6 or more people living in the same home.
In November, we had our highest pantry attendance this year. The 205 households were comprised of 333 adults, 300 children, and 92 seniors for a total of 725 people. We try to provide food to make 5 meals. Thanks to Second Harvest and the generous public food and monetary donations, we provided 3,625 meals at the November distribution.
Please note that not every registered household comes monthly. We have 281households registered since July 1st to comply with PA Dept of Agriculture reporting for their fiscal year of July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. Also, pantries have been told to expect an uptick in registrations through September 2022. Second Harvest has reported that currently in PA, 1 in 9 people and 1 in 7 children face food insecurity. Prior to Covid, 1 in 6 children were affected.
A big thank you goes out to all of you who are telling your family members, friends, and neighbors about WCHI. We also thank the WCSD, who has been sending out reminder robo calls, texts, and emails to the households who are registered for free and reduced rate breakfast and lunch the evening before our distribution. You all are making a big difference in people’s lives. Both WCHI and our guests are greatly appreciative.
WCHI’s next bingo is this Sunday, December 12th at Commitment to Family and Community, 165 Cherry St, Coplay. Face masks are required, except for those who are on oxygen. You can take them off to eat and drink, but then must be put back on. Doors open at 1pm. Bingo starts at 2pm. $15 gets you in the door and you receive two bingo boards with two games on each board. We also sell paper specials $5 a pack of five. Bingo chips and dabbers are available for purchase as is food and great desserts. Please bring an item for Snack Pack Pals https://tinyurl.com/SnackPackPals or for our Food Pantry https://tinyurl.com/WCHIPantryList We really need toiletries. Call Liz with questions and to register 484-274-6687. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Please remember this is the season for giving and it does not need to be monetary. Please continue to spread your kindness every chance you get. Just a simple smile or holding a door open for someone can positively impact a person’s day!!