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
Submitted by Gwen Herzog, Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative’s Vegetable Garden Chair
It has been another exciting month for the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative Garden. When we were finally graced with early June rain, all our vegetable plants began to flourish! We now have small peppers on our plants, and several tomato plants have begun to flower. Our eggplants’ leaves started to become lacy due to flea beetles, so these plants were dusted. Some of the radishes started protruding out of the ground and we were able to pick about 90 so far.
Although I am behind on thinning the red beets and carrots, both are growing well. The parsley may be ready for a small first cutting for distribution this month. Our beds of zucchini and yellow squash are really taking off and I anticipate by the time you read this article, we may have little ones hanging on the vines. What we need now are hot days, warm nights, and regular rainfall to help our gardens grow. Fingers crossed!
One major addition to the pantry garden is a new rainwater collection system. Thank you to the Whitehall Township Public Works Department for installing a rain gutter on the back of our shed with down spouting into our water storage tank. Installation was completed Thursday, June 22nd just in time for the weekend’s rain and as a result, our tank is now filled to the top. Many, many thanks to the Public Works team and to Mayor Harakal for supporting this valuable project! I also want to thank the Hockey Fire Department and our volunteers who brought water to the garden during the dry spring season.
If you use the Ironton Rail Trail loop, you have surely seen our WCHI Garden. Like me, you have probably also wondered why we have so many grassy areas inside the garden fence compared with the amount of planting beds. Yes, we have space and opportunities. One of our garden volunteers has been working on clearing a space for another bed. In fact, this newly created space is almost ready to use. Due to its proximity to the outer fence, we discussed possibly having to protect it from deer.
As luck would have it, in mid-June we received a donation of used fence posts and mesh fencing from our Pantry volunteers Pat and Bob, which will be perfect to use around this new bed. Speaking of planting new crops, we kept our “U” shaped bed open in anticipation of receiving donated vegetable or herb plants. If you find that you have any extra plants, please drop them at Shari Noctor’s Re/Max Unlimited office at 1080 Schadt Avenue, Whitehall, PA or give me a call at 610-379-6823 to arrange for pick up.
In last month’s article, I announced that the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is now part of the Lehigh Valley Plant-A-Row community. The week of June 19th, neighbors of mine, Fran and Walt, donated 4 lbs. of garden lettuce which we were not able to immediately distribute at WCHI. Fortunately, we used the Plant-A-Row community network and shared it with another local pantry that was distributing food the next day!
As a reminder, any extra, fresh produce from your garden or orchard that you donate will first be distributed at our WCHI Pantry or at our Free Community Meals. If neither of these events will be taking place within a few days, your donation will be shared with local Plant-A-Row pantries that will be able to immediately distribute it. Nothing will go to waste. Fresh produce may be donated at Re/Max Unlimited and placed on the table in the foyer or give me a call me at 610-379-6823 to arrange for pick up.
Have a great July and happy gardening!
Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley (MOW), BrightStar Care of Stroudsburg & Allentown, and Compassionate Care Hospice partnered with Friends of Pete to present a “Spring into Giving Food Drive” to provide needed food items for the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI) Food Pantry on May 18th from 4-7 PM. This event was held at the MOW’s location at 1302 N Sherman St, Allentown. The event also included 35 local business vendors, networking opportunities, snacks, prizes and tastings courtesy of Sherman Street Brewery and Tolino Vineyards. Many food donations also came from residents of the Midway Manor Housing Development across the street from MOW.
This was the 4th Food Pantry event MOW has hosted to provide much needed food to local Food Pantries. The other three prior Food Pantry Beneficiaries include: Allentown Ecumenical Food Pantry, Central Moravian Food Pantry, and Easton Area Neighborhood Center.
MOW printed and distributed fliers for this event, which included the sponsors, the time and place of the event, and the needed food items from our WCHI website https://tinyurl.com/yc2vdns3 Food donations poured into the MOW parking lot for the entire three hours!! WCHI received cereal, instant oatmeal variety packs, pasta/spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, easy to open canned vegetables, canned chicken and tuna in water or pouches; reduced sodium chicken noodle and vegetable soups; canned beans; canned fruit and fruit cups in water or light syrup, plus other food items, and monetary donations. We also received a huge box of tote bags for our guests to shop at our Pantry from Patriot Home Care.
WCHI also supports MOW by providing additional monthly food from our Pantry to 8-12 homebound MOW clients. Karen Haberern, a MOW representative, who is also a WCHI Volunteer and WCHI Board member, delivers the shelf stable food to these households. They are also included in our monthly food distribution household attendance numbers.
Overall, MOW serves 2 adults and 67 seniors ranging from 38-98 years old in Whitehall and serves 11 seniors ranging from 61-92 years old in Coplay. An interesting fact is that MOW prepares and delivers 24,000 meals a month to their clients that live in their market area: Lehigh, Northampton, and lower Carbon Counties. For more info on Meals on Wheels, please go to https://mowglv.org
I have known Erik McGaughey, when he was at the American Cancer Society, and I chaired the Relay for Life here in Whitehall back in 2012 and 2013. Erik is now the CEO of MOW since 2022. Congratulations, Erik!! He and I think a lot alike. Erik says “Changing one life is a big deal! With what is happening between the Food Panties and the work of Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley, we are changing neighborhoods, cities, and the entire greater Lehigh Valley.” And as I always say, “WCHI is making a huge difference in people’s lives.” Both Meals on Wheels and WCHI need more volunteers, more financial contributions, and we both want to be able to serve many, many more people who need our assistance.
You too, can host a food drive for WCHI. We currently need canned fruit, canned tuna, any kind of pasta, and canned beans (kidney, black, pinto, chickpeas, etc) for our June and July food distributions. We are feeding close to 1,000 Whitehall and Coplay residents a month. These items can be dropped off at my Re/Max Unlimited Real Estate office, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall Monday through Friday 9am-5pm. Monetary donations are also appreciated. Make your check payable to WCHI or Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative and write food in the memo section and mail or drop off to me at my office mentioned above. WCHI is a 501c3 public charity and your donation may be tax deductible. Please check with your financial adviser.
A big THANK YOU is extended to Meals on Wheels, and everyone associated with the fantastic food drive, held on May 18th at the MOW site. WCHI and all our guests thank you for your generosity and for being your selected Food Pantry this year!!
Written by Gwen Herzog, Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative’s Vegetable Garden Chair
What an amazing week we had at the WCHI garden! With the limited amount of rain recently, I was able to move the lawn mower deck down one notch and not stall out the mower. The groundhog re-opened the giant hole and once again, I was able to see it and avoid it. I refilled the hole with dirt, rocks, and the scrapings from underneath the mower deck. It appears that this critter has been feasting on our cauliflower and cabbage plants, but surprisingly not the Brussels sprouts.
Earlier this year, we had a robin build a nest and lay eggs in one of the flower boxes on our garden shed. A couple of weeks back the eggs hatched and suddenly there were four babies. I have a fear of birds, but since mama robin flew away to the fence whenever I got near, I felt comfortable observing these little ones close up. Monday the nest was abandoned, so I want to believe mama took her babies elsewhere with less activity. Look for photos of the hatchlings on our WCHI Facebook page.
On May 20th, Township Commissioner, Jeff Warren, graciously pressure washed the inside and outside of our water tank. Late last summer we experienced a small algae bloom and the inside of the tank became badly discolored. Jeff was committed to getting the tank looking good before it was filled this year. It took a lot of time and energy, but the tank looks GREAT. Thanks again, Jeff!
Tuesday evening was our first garden work night. Thanks to our volunteers, we were able to remove boards and cardboard, prep beds, plant, weed, and water. Sue Butchinski planted the pepper, tomato, and eggplant plants. Sylvia Lee and Jenn Dietz cleared beds and weeded, Tom Noctor rototilled, and I planted zucchini and yellow squash seeds. Finally, we all watered everything. Look for new garden photos on our Facebook page.
Wednesday evening the Hokey Fire Department delivered water into our newly cleaned tank. It may be another dry summer. Thank you to Mark Bilder and the entire Hokey Fire Department, now and in advance, for all the water they will deliver this year!
On Tuesday evening May 30th, the garden work plan includes: thin the radish, red beet, and carrot seedlings, prep and plant additional beds, cage the tomato and pepper plants, plant sunflower and other flower seeds, weed, and water. We welcome garden volunteers, but clearances are required. Please see www.tinyurl.com/WCHIforms for more details.
In May, WCHI’s Pantry provided food for almost 1,000 of our Whitehall and Coplay neighbors. Many of our guests tell us of the meals they will prepare using the fresh produce they receive. As you are planting your garden, why not plant an extra row or an extra plant and donate the vegetables to our Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative? All produce received will be distributed to our Pantry guests and given to our guests attending our Free Community Meals. You may drop your garden bounty at Shari Noctor’s Re/Max Unlimited office,1080 Schadt Avenue, Whitehall Monday-Friday 9-5. WCHI is also accepting any extra vegetable plants you may have. Call or text me 610-379-6823 to arrange for drop-off or pick up. Thank you in advance for all donations!
This week we learned that Shari Noctor’s Re/Max office will also be a local drop off site for Plant-A-Row Lehigh Valley, an organization that works throughout our local communities to help gardeners find a place to take extra produce. We look forward to this opportunity!
Finally, keep an eye out for our WCHI Garden Sign to be hung on our garden fence. You will be able to see it from the Ironton Rail Trail.