I wanted to provide our readers with different food resources available to you in the Lehigh Valley.
WCHI Food Pantry is here to help all low-income residents in Whitehall and Coplay with both our Food Pantry monthly distributions and our new Senior Box Program. This Senior Box Program provides an additional 35 pound of food for eligible Seniors (60+) though our Pantry. To schedule a pantry appointment, call 484-225-0358. For Senior Box info, call Gail 610-351-6412.
WCHI sometimes has dog and cat food available for our pantry guests. The Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley, 860 Broad St, Emmaus also provides dog and cat food. For more info, call 610-421-8014.
For other food Panties in the Lehigh Valley, this link will take you to the list of Pantries who work with Second Harvest Food Bank https://shfblv.org/findfood/
We also work with Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley Their priority is to help homebound residents. 610-691-1030 https://mowglv.org/services/
I wanted to give a little more info on SNAP and WIC. Many people are not aware of these programs.
SNAP The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps Pennsylvanians buy food. People in eligible low-income households can obtain more nutritious diets with SNAP increasing their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. Those who are eligible receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card to make food purchases.
Did you know that many college students are eligible for financial aid to assist with paying for college? Consider SNAP your food aid to help you focus on school and stay healthy. SNAP benefits help increase food budgets, allowing you to afford nutritious options including fruits, vegetables, organic foods, and more. More detailed info is at www.tinyurl.com/3kt2cam4
SNAP income limits have just changed recently to help more people. Please contact either Kathryn Hoffman at 484.821.2406 or Vanessa Morel at 484.821.2405, SNAP Outreach Coordinators, at Second Harvest Food Bank for more information.
WIC The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has helped Pennsylvania families since 1974. WIC helps pregnant women, mothers and caregivers of infants and young children learn about good nutrition to keep themselves and their families healthy. It provides nutrition services, breastfeeding support, health care and social service referrals and healthy foods to eligible participants. Lehigh County: 1-866-942-8463 Northampton County: 1-866-942-8463
For other food resources, please go to the Lehigh Valley Food Policy website
There are many food resources available here in the Lehigh Valley. I wanted to provide awareness and information about them. Please utilize them, if needed, and share this info with others.
Have a great week.
You know I always write about food safety for our warm National Holidays. I want to make sure you have a relaxing Labor Day weekend and do not become sick because of something easily avoidable. This info comes directly from Food Safety Training & Certification: Food Safety for Your Labor Day Party. https://tinyurl.com/hu84je26
“Summer’s almost over and it’s time to plan for one last long weekend party. Grill masters, make sure you don’t forget your food safety practices before firing up the grill one last time for the season and avoid food illness. But remember, it’s still warm – so that presents increased food safety dangers. Bacteria multiply faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, which makes the basics of food safety especially important. Savor the end of summer with good food and friends – and not a foodborne illness.
Labor Day is a U.S. national holiday held on the first Monday of September and pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. For most though, it marks the last weekend to enjoy summer and the start of the new school year.
So, if you’re rolling out the grill for the last weekend of the summer, be sure to also roll out your grilling food safety principles and procedures when cooking outdoors.
Clean: It seems basic, but not everyone does it. Wash hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom and before cooking or eating. If you’re in an outdoor setting with no bathroom, use a water jug, some soap, and paper towels. Consider carrying moist disposable towelettes for cleaning your hands.
Separate: Keep raw food separate from cooked food. Don’t use a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless the plate has first been washed in hot, soapy water. Keep utensils and surfaces clean.
Marinate food in the refrigerator, not out on the counter. And if you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a separate portion. Don’t reuse marinade that contained raw meat.
Cook food thoroughly: To kill any harmful bacteria that may be present, use a food thermometer. Color alone does not guarantee safe food because food browns very fast. The only way to know whether meat is grilled to a safe internal temperature is to insert a food thermometer into the center of the food.
Grilling Like a PRO: P = Place the thermometer in the center of the food on the grill to record an internal temperature. R = Read the temperature. Safe temperatures are Hamburgers, ground meats – 160° F; Chicken, poultry – 165–180° F; Medium-rare steak – 145° F; Medium steak – 160° F; Well-done steak – 170° F; Reheating cooked meats (e.g., hot dogs) – 165° F (or until steaming hot). O = Off the grill. Place the cooked food a clean plate
Chill: Refrigerate and freeze food promptly. It can be hard to remember while a party is going on, but food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill for more than two hours. Never leave food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90°F.
Keep food covered when you’re not eating it to prevent insects from making a snack of your meal. Bugs pick up germs on their feet and bodies and then deposit those germs wherever they land. If you see an insect crawling on your food, throw that piece away.”
I hope you found this information interesting and useful. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR CASH BINGO – WCHI will be offering cash bingo at St Peter Roman Catholic Church, 4 S. 5th St, Coplay on September 11th, October 9th, and November 6th (1st Sunday). There is no bingo in December. We will start up again on January 15th. Doors will open at 1pm and bingo starts at 2pm. St Peter’s kitchen will be open with fabulous food available for purchase. Please bring a food item for Snack Pack Pals or for our Food Pantry
Children are allowed to play if accompanied by an adult. $15 entry fee buys you 2 bingo boards with four games. Each additional board is $1 each and a pack of 5 paper specials are $5. We play 15 board games and 5 paper specials. Bingo chips and dabbers are available for purchase on site and through Jackpot Amusements, 5827 Colony Dr, Bethlehem 610-837-9240 or Amazon.com Questions and reservations, please call Liz Rodgers, Program Chair, 484-274-6687.
FREE COMMUNITY MEALS - WCHI and our Faith-Based Community Partners are proud to provide these FREE meals to low-income Whitehall-Coplay households twice a month. All are welcome to attend both meals on the 1st Sunday and 3rd Tuesday each month from 4:00-6:30pm. Meals are guaranteed for the first 100 guests. Once the meals have been all given out, which may be before 6:30, the doors will be closed. A sign will be place on the door stating the meals are finished for the day. Each site location will state if this is an inside dine-in meal, an outside “Drop and Go” pick up meal, or both. We will post site requirements on Facebook and Instagram for each meal. The host location changes every time.
These are WCHI’s September meal dates and locations:
Sunday, September 4th Muslim Association of the LV (MALV), 1988 Schadt Ave, Whitehall 703-346-8698
Tuesday, September 20th Whitehall Bible Fellowship Church, 3300 7th St, Whitehall 610-434-8661
Please talk with your Whitehall and Coplay faith-based parish pastor, secretary, and council members to discuss at their September meetings what dates they would like to host one or more meals for 2023. New churches or other organizations who want to host a meal for WCHI are encouraged to participate. WCHI will hold a meeting in October with those representatives at our food pantry to solidify the 2023 Free Community Meal schedule. Questions about hosting a meal or a guest wanting more info, please contact Karen Haberern, Program Chair, at 610-730-3184.
WCHI GARDEN AT MICKLEY-PRYDUN FARM – You can see our garden from the Ironton Rail Trail between Center and Lehigh Steets. Our garden has been planted, cultivated, watered, and weeded by dedicated WCHI volunteers. They grew tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, carrots, and cucumbers. They also planted sunflowers and zinnias to attract bees to pollinate the plants. These fresh vegetables were given to the children during our Children’s Summer Feeding Program which ended on August 24th.
The remaining produce mentioned above and the new fall crop that will be planted includes cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, leaks, acorn squash, and hot peppers will be given to our Pantry guests throughout the October growing season, while supplies last.
A huge THANK YOU also goes out to the Hokey Fire Department who has brought water to fill our water bins during the growing season. To find out how you can volunteer with WCHI’s garden, please call Gwen Herzog, Program Chair, 610-379-6823.
WCHI PANTRY ITEMS NEEDED - Canned pasta, ketchup, mustard, relish, cereal, canned tuna fish, and any kind of dry pasta. These items can be dropped off in my office foyer or shipped to Shari Noctor at Re/Max Unlimited, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall PA 18052. Office is open M-F 8:30-5, Sat 9-1 and Sun 10-1.
Thank you and have a great week!!
Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is proud to offer the “Senior Food Box Program” though our Food Pantry. We started registering our Pantry guests who financially qualified at the August 11th Food Pantry distribution. This went well last week, and we will register again on August 18th. Registrations will be ongoing for those that qualify. More on qualifications further down in the article. The Senior Box food is in addition to the Pantry food provided by WCHI.
This paragraph is on how the Senior Boxes become available. The Senior Food Box Program is supported through USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The USDA purchases the food and makes it available to the Department of Agriculture. The program is administered on behalf of the Department of Agriculture by Hunger-Free Pennsylvania (HFP) through their network of 17 food banks, including Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) serving all 67 counties. Hunger-Free Pennsylvania is the single largest provider of meals to older Pennsylvanians through the PA Senior Food Box Program. SHFB offered this program to WCHI.
HFP mentions that Food insecurity among seniors contributes to malnutrition, which exacerbates disease, increases disability, decreases resistance to infection and extends hospital stays. Malnutrition increases care-giving demands and inflates health-care expenditures associated with premature or extended hospital or nursing home stays.
The Senior Food Box Program works to improve the health of low-income seniors by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods. The senior food boxes do not provide a complete diet, but rather are good sources of the nutrients typically lacking in the diets of older Americans. Usually included in the 35-pound food box is: non-fat dry and shelf-stable fluid milk, juice, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, dry beans, peanut butter, canned meat, poultry, or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables.
As of April 1, 2021, the PA Senior Food Box Program (formerly the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, aka CSFP) no longer requires proof of income in Pennsylvania. Qualifying seniors include low-income individuals who are at least 60 years old and whose household income is at or below 130 percent of the U.S. poverty level.
The senior box income guidelines are much lower than the Pantry income guidelines. The income guidelines include all the income for all the people living in the household. For example, a household size of 1 person can have income of $17,667 to qualify for a senior box compared to $25,142 to qualify for Pantry food. In a four-person household, the maximum income for all four people must be at or below $36,075 for the senior(s) to receive a box. If there are two or more seniors living in the household and the total income is at or below the limit, each senior can have a box if they want it, but each person must fill out a separate form and everyone living in the household must be named along with their birthdates. Proof of the senior’s age is a requirement. This would be on a driver’s license. No worries if the senior does not drive. We still can qualify them.
Hunger PA has a grant to partner with Door Dash and member food banks to deliver senior boxes. Second Harvest has selected WCHI to be part of this Door Dash program. Once we have our guests signed up, there will be one scheduled day a month and a 2-hour time frame, that the senior will be aware of, that the Senior Boxes will be delivered to the senior’s front door. We are hoping to debut this feature in October.
WCHI is committed to helping as many low-income Whitehall and Coplay residents as possible in our area that qualify both for the Pantry and the Senior Box Program. We also include homebound and mobility impaired residents. Please spread the word through your faith-based bulletins, and by telling your family, friends, and neighbors.
More info on the Senior Boxes to come in a future article. In the meantime, please tell low-income Whitehall-Coplay seniors to call to register with our Pantry. And if financially qualified for a Senior Box, the 35-pound Senior Box of food will be delivered to their door. Questions on the program, please call Gail, WCHI Senior Box Chair, at 484-951-8447.
WCHI Pantry can use any kind of pasta. Please ship or drop to my office at 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052.
Thank you and have a great week!!