WCHI CHOICE FOOD PANTRY is helping so many Whitehall and Coplay residents. Below are our monthly numbers for 2023.
Food Pantry Attendance 2023
In Oct, we helped 6 households & 19 people who were running out of food. We served 20 new households: 77 people.
We are here to help you. Please call us for a Pantry appointment. Also, please tell your family members, friends, and co-workers. No one should be hungry in America, but especially not in Whitehall and Coplay.
Requirements: WCHI serves Whitehall Twp and Coplay Boro residents. We MUST register all our guests due to receiving USDA and PA State Food from Second Harvest Food Bank. his registration process takes about 10 minutes. Please present two forms of ID to verify residency (a valid photo ID, if available, and/or utility bills).
PA Dept of Agriculture has detailed required income limits based on the household size. For example: a household of one person can have monthly income of $2,248 or less to qualify; a household of four people can have monthly income of $4,625 or less to qualify, a household of seven people can have a monthly income of $7,002 or less to qualify. Seasonal employees may also qualify. We have income limits for all household sizes. No income paperwork is required.
Please call 484-225-0358 to schedule your initial appointment. When you attend our Pantry distribution, you will be given an appointment for your next month’s visit.
WCHI is asking for the following donations: instant mashed potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, and corn muffin mix. These can be dropped or shipped to my office, Re/Max Unlimited, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall PA 18052 Monday through Friday 9am -5pm.
WCHI is making a difference in peoples’ lives. THANK YOU ALL!! Please call 484-225-0358 with any questions.
Written by Gwen Herzog, Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative’s Vegetable Garden Chair
Over the years I have noticed that peppers seem to grow like crazy toward the end of the season. I’m not sure if it’s the cooler weather, the realization that life is coming to an end, or perhaps my imagination, but the plants seem to be racing to produce as much as possible to finish out the season. This season, peppers have been the most donated fresh vegetable at Re/Max Unlimited. 10/19 I brought to the pantry a tote bag full of green, sweet peppers from my garden. On the same day, another pantry volunteer brought a huge bag of red, sweet peppers from his garden. We mixed them in a bushel basket and the colors were amazing! These fresh peppers were very popular with our guests and within a couple of hours, the basket was empty.
I wrote in my last article that we had replanted most of our Pantry Garden beds with fall crops. I am pleased to report that we have already begun to reap the benefits! In October we were able to distribute some of our new herbs including 27 bags of dill and 17 bags of cilantro. We also distributed a variety of our new greens including pak choi, tat soi, kale, endive, turnip greens, and chard. It wasn’t an extremely large quantity of greens since our plants are just getting started, but it was enough for some guests to add to soup, sandwiches, or a salad. Our fall brassicas including cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli are growing well and we should have some ready in time for November’s distribution.
I want to thank this year’s very dedicated group of Pantry Garden volunteers: Sue Butchinski, Jenn Dietz, Sylvia Lee, and Tom Noctor. Our garden would not have gotten cleared, planted, watered, weeded, harvested, fenced, nor the grass cut without this hard-working team! The WCHI board recently made a change to the required clearances for the Pantry Garden, so everyone is invited to join us Tuesdays at 4 p.m. We will especially need help on November 7th and 14th to harvest and down pack greens for pantry distribution. Enter the address 3540 South Ruch Street, Whitehall into your GPS. When you get to the surveillance sign at the end of the macadam, keep going. Follow the gravel drive and park by the garden. We look forward to meeting you and putting you to work!
Here are our YTD Pantry Garden numbers: 373 zucchini, 225 yellow squash, 24 bags of radishes, 304 tomatoes, 241 peppers, 18 bags of red beets, 96 eggplants, 3 tote bags of parsley, 36 ears of corn, 38 bags of dill, 6 bags of string beans, 17 bags of cilantro, 3 bags of turnip greens, 8 bags of pak choi, 10 bags of tat soi, 2 bags of kale, 7 bags of endive, and 3 bags of turnips.
Don’t forget, as you clean out your vegetable garden for the year or as you keep picking into the late fall, we will gladly accept your extra produce. Please drop to Re/Max Unlimited, 1080 Schadt Ave., Whitehall, Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or call me at 610-379-6823 and I will gladly pick up. We remain committed to nothing going to waste and will share your donations with our pantry guests, at free community meals, and with other pantries through Plant-A-Row.
One in seven people are food insecure here in the Lehigh Valley. Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI) has been blessed to have enough food to feed 1,000 Whitehall and Coplay residents in August and 1,008 residents in September. October’s numbers are not in yet, since we have not finished the month.
From Feeding America, “The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a family or can last a long time. Food insecurity is one way we measure how many people cannot afford food.”
If a household needs food, WCHI follows The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) guidelines, which is operated in accordance with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
Eligibility is based upon the income limits listed on the form. The recipient verifies, based on their household size, that they are at or below the income level indicated on the form to be eligible for program benefits. The income levels are based on yearly, monthly, or weekly gross income before taxes are taken out. WCHI has a chart to show our guests. For weekly income, a household of 2, cannot receive income higher than $519/week; a household of 5-$1,250/week; and a household of 8-$1,799/per week. The income chart has all the different household sizes and income limits. Our guests circle or highlights the line with their household size, verifies their allowable income, and then signs the form.
WCHI needs three things from our community:
Pantry Appointments are Required. Please call 484-225-0358. Guests must show proof of residency with a driver’s license and/or a utility bill or other form of mail coming to their address. We serve guests during their pantry appointment time. If they come early, they need to wait for their appointment time. If they come late, our guest will have to wait for an opening in our WCHI schedule. We are fully booked on both distribution days. We genuinely appreciate our guests arriving at their scheduled appointment time.
Since Covid-19 paved the way for WCHI to ultimately provide a Food Pantry for Whitehall-Coplay residents, I have been thinking about creating an Advisory Board. This is different from our Board of Directors, who help make top-down decisions.
Our Mission is to alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay.
The purpose of the WCHI Advisory Board is to help WCHI accomplish our Mission. I want to expand our focus to include different perspectives from a myriad of people that ultimately will help our Pantry guests. And as a group, we will further alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay.
I would like this new Advisory Board to consist of pantry guests, a couple of our current Board members, faith-based community members, and any local government, business, & service organizations members. This would be a bottom-up approach to help our guests with Pantry improvements. It also will help WCHI obtain a contact and direct information on established community services: i.e., Meals on Wheels, WIC, Department of Aging, etc. We also need more businesses, housing developments, faith based and service organizations to do more organized Food Drives for us and would love a representative to be on our Advisory Board.
The Advisory Board will consist of 20-30 area members, though there is no minimum or maximum limit. NO State mandated child abuse clearances are required to be a member of this Advisory Board unless you further volunteer with WCHI.
The Advisory Board will have three meetings a year lasting about 90 minutes. Our first meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 17th at 2pm, in our Food Pantry at St John the Baptist Campus in the Christ the King School, at 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall. (If putting in your GPS, please put in Coplay as the town. Some GPS bring you to our WCHI Garden on the other side of S Ruch St that does not connect to our side of S Ruch). Park in the back parking lot and look for our Pantry signs to come in the side door of the school.
If you have any questions about this Advisory Board, please call me on my personal cell 610-730-8067.
Our next Free Community Meal is on Thursday, October 19th at Redeemed Christian Church of God, 5 N 3rd St, Coplay 610-262-8993. Meals are served from 4-6pm and are while supplies last.
WCHI fed 1,008 residents in September consisting of 266 households, 365 children, 428 adults, and 215 seniors. We had 27 new households consisting of 29 children, 36 adults, and 21 seniors for a total of 86 newly served guests. The 86 people are included in the 1,008 total people served. Not every registered guest comes every month. This is only the total number of households served for September.
Please host a Food Drive for WCHI. We are limited as to what we can obtain from Second Harvest Food Bank. Please advise us that you want to and/or are doing a Food Drive. We are starting to collect items for the holidays. A computer list of what is needed can be found at our website. https://tinyurl.com/yc2vdns3
These are the needed items that are on or website: Boxes of Oatmeal, Boxed Potatoes, Canned Fruit (Low Sugar or Light Fruit Syrup), Canned Corn and Canned Peas, Canned Tuna, Cereal, Condiments (mayo, ketchup, mustard), Macaroni and Cheese, Pancake Mix & Syrup, Pasta (all kinds), Ready to Eat Items (Canned Ravioli, Spaghettios, etc), Rice 1lb bagged (brown or white); All kind of Soups (Including: Creamed, Chicken Noodle, Tomato, Vegetable, etc), Spaghetti Sauce, and Stovetop Stuffing Mix. **All food items above can be store brands. ** All Donations are appreciated and may be shipped to or dropped off at Re/Max Unlimited Real Estate, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052 M-F 9am 5pm.
Please contact me with anything listed above. Thank you and have a great week!!
WCHI Pantry Garden Article - October, 2023
Contributed by Gwen Herzog, WCHI Pantry Garden Chair
I am writing this article after another busy work night at the WCHI Pantry Garden. Tonight, we picked a bucket of string beans and several tomatoes. We then planted about 100 onion plants and approximately 30 parsley plants. I picked up the onion plants this morning from The Seed Farm located in Vera Cruz. Sam from TSF told me that if we planted them today, in 6 weeks we should be picking scallions for our guests. The parsley also came from TSF last week. We should be able to pick from these plants this fall and again next year. In addition to the parsley, two weeks ago and again last week we planted several varieties of cold tolerant greens, cabbage, and broccoli, all obtained from TSF. All are growing great! We should be able pick and pack greens for our food distributions in October. The cabbage and broccoli will take a little longer. Last week we planted a variety of herb plants also obtained from TSF. We cut, packed, and distributed dill to pantry guests. Two weeks ago and again last week we re-potted some basil plants from TSF and made them available to our guests at the pantry to grow on their windowsills. The take home plants were so popular that we ran out quickly. Our basil plant giveaway has gotten the attention of TSF and Second Harvest. Next year will reveal how they will grow our success.
I want to thank all our community gardeners who have shared their bounty with us. Thanks to all of you, to date, 344.59 pounds of produce have been collected and shared with our WCHI guests and with other, local food pantries through Plant-A-Row. Remember, if you have extra garden produce or herbs you can share, please drop them to RE/MAX Unlimited Real Estate, 1080 Schadt Ave., Whitehall Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please place items on the table on the right side of the vestibule. You may also call or text me at 610-379-6823 to make other arrangements for drop off or pick up. No amount is too large or too small. Don’t forget, as you empty those plants pre-frost, we can be an outlet for your smaller peppers and green tomatoes.
Here is our year-to-date garden bounty: 373 zucchini, 225 yellow squash, 24 bags of radishes, 221 tomatoes, 179 peppers, 16 bags of red beets, 75 eggplants, 2 tote bags of parsley, 36 ears of corn, 11 bags of dill, and 9 bags of string beans.
In my very first pantry garden article I wrote that the worst day for me, as a gardener, is putting the garden to bed just before the first frost. As the amount of daylight hours get shorter, I am reminded that the time for frost is near. It seems like just last month I couldn’t wait for that first tomato to ripen, but now, at times, I am overwhelmed with tomatoes that are cracked or have been nibbled by a critter or slug and must be tended to. By now, you have frozen tomato sauce, stuffed peppers, and string beans, you have shared your bounty with family, friends, and neighbors, and perhaps you have tried a new recipe, canned red beets, or made hot sauce with your garden’s bounty. These are the memories that will hopefully sustain you through the coming winter. Enjoy the final weeks of your summer garden, and if you are extending your garden with cool weather vegetables, I wish you a bounteous fall!
I thought you may find this interesting and informative. It is a Press Release from Feeding America August 30, 2023
The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks is coming together this September for Hunger Action Month to inspire conversation and drive passion for the issue of hunger. The month-long campaign will highlight the impact of food on people's lives and show how a meal goes beyond solely nourishing our bodies. When people are fed, futures are nourished, and individuals go from just living to truly thriving. By joining the movement, Feeding America believes our collective voices, actions and commitment will help ensure every community has the food it needs to flourish.
“Food has a tremendous impact on people’s lives. We have all experienced firsthand how a meal goes beyond solely nourishing our bodies,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “Access to nutritious food is essential for each of us to reach our full potential and reminds us that we can all help to create positive change in our communities to ensure that no one goes hungry in America. Now is the time for us to come together to elevate the voices of people who experience food insecurity and inspire everyone to join the movement to end hunger.”
Everyone needs nutritious food to thrive, and in every community in America, people are working hard to provide for themselves and their families. Yet, Feeding America estimates approximately 1 in 6 people turned to charitable food assistance for additional support in 2022. A recent Feeding America survey found that 80% of network food banks reported either increased or steady demand for emergency food services in June 2023. This includes almost 35% of responding food banks reporting an increase in the number of people served. The vast majority are also reporting that food purchase costs are higher and food donations are down over the last four months.
To support food banks and neighbors experiencing food insecurity, people across the country can get involved during Hunger Action Month by listening, acting and inviting others to speak up about ways to end hunger.
Listening and Learning:
Read and watch stories of people facing hunger.
Learn about the impact hunger has on communities.
Read the Elevating Voices to End Hunger Together report to learn about anti-hunger policy recommendations informed by neighbors facing hunger.
Committing and Acting:
Donate to a local food bank or Feeding America.
Visit and volunteer at a local food bank.
Wear orange throughout the month of September, or on Hunger Action Day on Friday, Sept. 15, to spread awareness and show commitment toward ending hunger.
Speaking Up and Advocating:
Sign our petition to members of Congress urging them to strengthen critical nutrition programs in the 2023 Farm Bill that help seniors, families, children, active military members and other people in communities across the country.
Join the conversation and share support by posting photos or stories of advocacy to social media with #HungerActionMonth and @FeedingAmerica.
On Hunger Action Day, Sept. 15, Feeding America will release the 2023 Elevating Voices to End Hunger Together: Insights Report, an annual, nationally representative snapshot of the experiences, concerns and ideas of people who had challenges putting food on the table. The report builds off last year’s foundational initiative to understand issues driving food insecurity and develop ideas for solutions to end hunger from the people most impacted by it.
Hunger Action Month is a time for everyone across the country to collectively act against hunger. You can choose to donate or advocate. You can choose to volunteer or raise awareness. You can choose to help end hunger. Learn more about how you can take action by visiting HungerActionMonth.org .
WCHI Pantry Garden Article – September 7, 2023
Contributed by Gwen Herzog, WCHI Pantry Garden Chair
August has been a very full month at our WCHI Pantry Garden! Hot days, warm nights, and a good amount of rainfall have helped our plants continue to produce incredibly well. We have been routinely picking zucchini and yellow squash and until just the fourth week of August, they had not slowed down production. We were fortunate to be able to offer all August Pantry guests a variety of fresh Pantry Garden vegetables including zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, red beets, radishes, and parsley in addition to cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and apples donated by our generous community gardeners. Combined with the produce boxes, lettuce, onions, lemons, and grapes we received from Second Harvest Food Bank, it was a cornucopia of fresh produce for all guests! We were also able to supply some of our Pantry Garden produce to WCHI’s community meal at the Whitehall Bible Fellowship Church and to other food pantries in our area.
During our work night on August 1st, pantry garden neighbors, Walter and Stella, walked down for a visit. In addition to donating items grown in his garden, Walter brought cleaner and brushes and generously scrubbed the algae and mud from our shed while Stella, his dog, patrolled for groundhogs. Our shed looks brand new thanks to Walter!
Thanks to Michael Agrippine and the Whitehall-Coplay Press for featuring our Pantry Garden in the August 17th edition. Mike stopped by the garden during a Tuesday work night to interview us and take photos, and I was pleasantly surprised to see us on pages one and two!
I want to recognize and thank our amazing local gardeners who have generously donated their garden and orchard bounty! So far this year, with your generous donations, over 250 lbs. of fresh produce has been contributed to Lehigh Valley Plant-a-Row. Remember, our priority for donations is the WCHI Food Pantry and WCHI Free Community Meals, then other, local food pantries. Nothing goes to waste! Any amount of produce, large or small, is greatly appreciated. Please bring your donations to the vestibule at RE/MAX Unlimited, 1080 Schadt Ave., Whitehall, M-F 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. or call me at 610-379-6823 for other pick up or drop off accommodations.
As I wrote in last month’s article, I was able to purchase broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and turnips from The Seed Farm’s fall plant sale. These were planted in available beds in the Pantry Garden, and with some metal rabbit fence, the plants have remained untouched! On 8/28 The Seed Farm reached out to donate more plants and herbs to our garden, so at our work night on 8/29, we cleared out our zucchini and yellow squash beds to make room for arugula, kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, turnips, pac choi, bok choi, endive, basil, and dill. We expect to plant these at our work night on 9/5. With continued sun, heat, and rain and without critter interference, we should be able to offer Pantry Garden produce to our WCHI guests throughout the fall.
Finally, my article would not be complete without sharing our fabulous year-to-date Pantry Garden yield of 373 zucchini, 222 yellow squash, 24 bags of radishes, 65 tomatoes, 95 peppers, 7 bags of red beets, 42 eggplants, and a tote bag full of parsley. I hope your gardens have been just as successful. Have a great month!
I wanted to talk about our 2023 WCHI pantry attendance and the guests we serve. This is just a snapshot of three months this year. August numbers are not completed as of press time.
JAN APR JUL
Youth 0-17 351 347 356
Adults 18-59 420 453 433
Seniors 60+ 195 192 190
Total people served 966 992 979
Food items 5 meals/person 4,830 4,960 4,895
Total Households 251 260 251
New household registrations 17 13 13
Please take notice of the number of children, adults, and seniors we help monthly. We are feeding almost 1,000 guests a month. Guests do not come every month for a myriad of reasons: illness, no transportation, changes to work schedules, obtained a new job, etc. We would serve well over 1,200 people if every registered guest would attend every month.
Our Mission is to alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay. We feel we do a great job but can always improve. WCHI is please to consistently register new food insecure households monthly. We are here to help. Please, if you know anyone who needs food in Whitehall and Coplay, please tell them to call us at 484-225-0358 to schedule a pantry appointment. We are open the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays every month from 9:30am-1pm and 4:30- 7 pm. We promptly close the doors at 1pm and 7 pm.
Many households do not have transportation. One guest rides a bike 1 mile to our Pantry and is extremely limited on what he can bring home. If you have a neighbor, friend, or family member who does not have transportation, can you please make the time to bring them? Or if you know or suspect someone needs food, can you offer to help them? Food insecurity is blind. Not many people will raise their hand and say I am hungry or can you help me. Many people do not want people to know their situation, are afraid what someone will think about them, or they are ashamed to ask for help.
No one should be hungry in this country. And NO ONE should be hungry here in Whitehall and Coplay. Besides our WCHI Pantry, guests can also attend Whitehall Food Pantry at St Stephens, 3900 Mechanicsville Rd. They are open Mondays 6:00- 8:00pm by appointment. Contact 484-246-5715. Also, for Coplay residents, the Coplay Food Pantry, in Coplay Boro Hall, 98 S 4th St is open the 2nd Tuesday every month from 8:30-10am. Please contact Jodi at 610.262.0928.
Second Harvest Food Bank is a major source of our pantry food but has been having low inventory for several months now. They provide food to 200 agencies in 6 counites. WCHI provides food for each of our guests to have meals for five days. WCHI relies on the public to donate needed food items. Our guests either like to prepare cooked meals and others like to have ready to eat food like tuna, soup, canned ravioli, etc. WCHI appreciates ALL donations: individual or planned food drives.
We request the following items: Boxes of Oatmeal, Boxed Potatoes, Canned Fruit (Low Sugar or Light Fruit Syrup), Canned Tuna, Cereal, Condiments (mayo, ketchup, mustard), Macaroni &Cheese, Jelly, Pancake Mix & Syrup, Pasta (all kinds: elbows, spaghetti, rigatoni, rotini, shells, etc), Rice 1lb bagged brown or white, Ready to Eat Items (Canned Ravioli, SpaghettiOs, etc), Any kind of Soups (Including: Creamed, Chunky, Chicken Noodle, Tomato, Vegetable, etc), Spaghetti Sauce, Stovetop Stuffing Mix. All food items above can be store brands.
These food items can be shipped to or dropped at my Re/Max Unlimited office, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052 M-F 8:30am -5pm. The office is closed on the weekends.
Thank you and have a great week!!
Upcoming September WCHI events to put on your calendars along with good food info at the end of this article.
FREE COMMUNITY MEALS - WCHI, the faith-based community, and others are proud to provide these FREE, hot, sit-down meals to low-income Whitehall-Coplay residents twice a month. All are welcome to attend both meals on the 1st Sunday and 3rd Tuesday each month from 4-6pm. Please attend and bring your family and friends. These meals are delicious!!
Sunday, Sept 3rd - Muslim Association of the LV (MALV), 1988 Schadt Ave, Whitehall 703-346-8698
Tuesday, Sept 19th – Whitehall Active Community Center, 2301 Pine St, Whitehall 610-533-1357
Questions about hosting a meal for 2024 or a guest wanting more info, please contact Karen Haberern, Program Chair at 610-730-3184.
BINGO – Sunday, Sept 10th Doors open at 1 and bingo starts at 2 pm at St Peter Roman Catholic Church, 4 S 5th St Coplay. Jackpot is $200. Play 15 Board games and 5 paper specials. BYO chips and dabbers. Food is available for purchase. All proceeds benefit WCHI. Please bring a food item for our Panty. Any kind of canned soup would be great!! For more info, contact Liz Rogers, Bingo Chair at 484-274-6687
FREE CLASSES “LEARN TO EAT HEALTHY ON A BUDGET” – Sign-Up now for these classes with Julie Davitt, Nutrition Education Adviser, at Penn State Extension, Allentown 484-857-2736 or firstname.lastname@example.org Julie will teach the classes in partnership with WCHI in the white building behind our Pantry at 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall. Classes run October 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th from 10am- Noon.
Topics include-Delicious Recipes; Smart Shopping; Meal Planning and Preparation; Food Safety; and Nutrition. Learn more at www.extension.psu.edu/nutrition-links Upon class completion, each participant will receive kitchen tools and a certificate of completion.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR THIS PROGRAM? Parent or caregiver of children who qualify for free or reduced school lunch or WIC. Adults who qualify for SNAP, food pantry boxes/bags, and Pennsylvania farmers market vouchers.
12 Simple Ways to Increase Fruits, Vegetables and Beans/Legumes at Meals from FeedingPA.org
Needed Pantry items: Any kind of canned fruit, canned soups, canned low salt mixed vegetables, and any kind of pasta.
Please deliver to my RE/MAX Unlimited office, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall Monday-Friday 9am to 5 pm.
I hope you found this week’s article informative and interesting. Have a great week!!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our selfless volunteers who helped WCHI with our June 8th and 15th food distributions. WCHI is feeding close to 1,000 people a month. We did not have enough manpower to help on these two dates due to many dedicated volunteers being on vacation. I extended an invitation for help, and we had more than enough volunteers to help us this month. WCHI is 100% Volunteer and has a 501C3 Public Charity status with the IRS. THANK YOU again to all our dedicated volunteers!!
WCHI always can use more volunteers who can help during Pantry Distributions or other times throughout the month usually on Wednesday mornings. We can also use help at our WCHI Garden. State mandated clearances are required for volunteers 18+ years old. If you are a Catholic Parishioner, additional read and sign forms are required. Children and youth 12-17 can volunteer with parent acknowledgement with a read and sign form. Please go to https://tinyurl.com/WCHIforms to review the necessary forms and requirements. I would encourage more people to join us by attaining these clearances. They are valid for 5 years once obtained. WE all get along and are like one big family!!
There are a lot of behind-the-scenes activities that occur throughout the month i.e. 1. ordering and picking up food from Second Harvest Food Bank; 2. Purchasing food and toiletries from several local stores; 3. Loading our vehicles with the products and bringing them back to the Pantry; 4. These items then get carried by hand into the pantry and put on rolling racks and sent to their dedicated areas in the Pantry; 5. These items are loaded onto skids or rolling racks and marked State and USDA Food or general donations from the public; 6. Then the inventory is stocked on appropriate racks for our Pantry guests to choose from during distribution days.
On distribution days, our volunteers do specific jobs including: 1. Welcoming our guests as they arrive; 2. Registering our guests; 3. Shopping with our guests throughout the Pantry; 4. Providing produce boxes and any additional produce, when available; 5. Providing dog and cat food when available; and 6. Unloading the bagged or boxed items from our shopping carts into our guests’ cars.
WCHI’s Panty Choice Racks include: canned fruit; canned vegetables; protein (canned salmon, tuna, & chicken when available, a good selection of canned beans, and peanut butter); rice and pasta; cereal; grains like oatmeal and mac&cheese; ready to eat foods like canned/jar sauces, bagged chili, and soups; snacks; condiments; baby food and diapers; coffee (ground, whole bean and K-Cups when available); adult diapers, feminine products; toiletries: toilet paper, tissues and other items like toothpaste, when available; frozen food and refrigerated food like milk, cheese, and eggs when available; and 10 lb produce boxes plus bagged fruit; and dog/cat food when available.
WCHI orders, receives, and distributes approximately 14,000- 18,000 pounds of food a month from Second Harvest Food Bank. We also get 2,700 pounds a month of fresh -10-pound produce boxes (June’s box included bagged onions, loose sweet potatoes, a squash, and a pineapple) and additional other fresh produce like bagged tangerine when available. With the current economy the available items have decreased from 250 a year ago to about 105 today. In May, Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley hosted a huge food donation event at their location specifically for WCHI. We were on site and received 2,000 pounds of food that day. Taylor Villas, a 55+ housing subdivision in Whitehall, also hosts several food drives for us, as does Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Egypt. All this donated food has been distributed in June. And just this week, WCHI received approximately 2,000 pounds of assorted canned beans from Catasauqua School District that was donated to them.
We are extremely grateful for all the public support!! We currently need: canned fruit (not cups); small and large cans of tuna; cereal; mac& cheese; and any kind of pasta. Please note: a local store manager said the store brands are the same as the major names. Most are the same food; they are just packaged with the local store name. These are usually much cheaper, and we accept any donation.
Monetary donations are also appreciated since we do purchase needed items. Please make your check payable to WCHI and write food in the memo section. Food and monetary donations can be dropped, mailed or shipped to WCHI-Shari Noctor, at my RE/Max Unlimited office, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052. The office is open Monday-Friday 9-5 and is now closed on the weekends.
Also, WCHI is part of Plant a Row Lehigh Valley. If you have additional vegetables you are growing in your garden or would like to donate a plant or two, these can be put on the table in my foyer. We will give these vegetables to our guests at our Pantry distributions and at our two monthly Free Community Meals. If the vegetables are donated at other times of the month, Gwen Herzog, our Garden Chair and Plant a Row Representative, will add the plants to our garden and will make sure the fresh vegetables are given to low-income people who will use them.
THANK YOU ALL and have a Great week!!I