WCHI has been selected through Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley to be one of three Lehigh County Healthy Panty Initiatives (HPI), which is a project of Feeding PA in partnership with the PA Department of Health. The goal of PA HPI is to increase access to healthy foods and beverages and chronic disease information to food pantry clients. The initiative also aims to support pantry guests in increasing their consumption of healthy foods by highlighting the healthy choices within the food pantries. At our Pantry, this is done with colorful notecards attached close to the healthier food choices.
Our Pantry provides food, when possible, that are recommended by USDA https://www.myplate.gov/ This info below is from MyPlate and focuses on five food groups – Fruit, Vegetables, Grains, Protein, and Dairy. To ensure a healthy diet, it is important to eat a variety of foods from each of these food groups.
Half of your plate should be made up of FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. Eat many different colors of fruits and vegetables each day. For a 2,000-calorie food plan, eat 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit daily. One cup is equal to 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables; 1 cup of raw fruit; 1 medium-sized orange, apple, or banana; 1 cup of 100% fruit or vegetable juice; 2 cups of raw leafy greens, such as lettuce spinach, or kale; or ½ cup dry fruit. WCHI provide several canned vegetables and fruits to choose from. Though inventory changes for all our products mentioned here and throughout this article, we have provided canned applesauce, diced pears, sliced peaches, fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, and mango chunks. Canned vegetables include green beans, sliced carrots, spinach, diced tomato, corn, peas, and sliced potatoes. We also provide fresh produce boxes at every food distribution, when available, for our guests. The June 9th box included 2 lbs. of onions, 6-7 sweet potatoes, carrots, and a pineapple or cantaloupe.
One fourth of your plate should be GRAINS. Make at least half the grains you eat each day whole grains. For a 2,000-calorie daily food plan, eat 6 oz of grains daily. One ounce is equal to: 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal, or ½ cup cooked rice, cereal, or pasta. WCHI provides elbow macaroni, wheat spaghetti, couscous, cornbread mix, pancake mix, instant oatmeal, and corn flakes.
One fourth of you plate should be PROTEIN. Eat a wide variety of protein foods, including meat, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and tofu. For a 2,000-calorie daily food plan, eat 5.5 oz of protein every day. 1 oz is equal to 1 oz meat, poultry, or fish, ¼ C cooked beans, 1 egg, ½ oz nuts or seeds, or 1 tbsp peanut butter. WCHI provides canned tuna, chicken, salmon, lentils, chickpeas and black beans, peanut butter, dried nut and fruit packages, frozen ground beef and frozen tilapia fish.
DAIRY- Drink fat free or low fat (1%) MILK. Eat or drink dairy as a side to meals. For a 2,000-calorie food plan, eat or drink 3 cups of dairy every day. One cup is equal to: 1 C milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, or soy milk (soy beverage); 2 oz processed cheese, and 1.5 oz natural cheese. WCHI provides quarts and half gallons of milk, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and yogurt when available.
WCHI also provides other foods including 1. Ready to Eat Foods -beef stew, mac & cheese, tomato, vegetable and creamed soups, and spaghetti sauce. 2. Snacks – fruit/nut, raisins, and cookies 3. Condiments- grape jelly, low sodium beef broth, and pork base.
We also provide baby food, toilet paper and tissues, and other toiletries as available, such as shampoo conditioner, toothpaste, adult and baby diapers etc.
WCHI tries to provide a great variety of food for our low-income Whitehall and Coplay guests to provide just three days of food (9 meals) for each household member per month. Amounts given out varies by household size and are based on PA Dept of Agriculture’s The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). WCHI food is only a supplement to help our guests get through the month. For May we served 357 adults, 351 children, 151 seniors for a total of 859 people living in 236 households. WCHI provided food to prepare 7,731 meals in May.
A HUGE SHOUT OUT THANK YOU goes to Second Harvest Food Bank; Lehigh County Commissioners and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown for both approving Grants for WCHI; and to local citizens, community groups, and businesses for providing both food products and monetary donations to obtain what we need to help Whitehall and Coplay residents.
Have a wonderful week!!
I always like to do an article on Food Safety around Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving. People do not realize if food is undercooked or not held at proper temperatures, people do get sick and make visits to the emergency room. I hold a ServSafe certification and it is very important just to remind you of some food safety guidelines and tips.
This great information is taken directly from “USDA Urges Consumers to Keep Clear of the Danger Zone This Summer” Released by USDA’s Food Safety Education Staff. Please read the entire article from, May 17, 2016, which still holds true today, at https://tinyurl.com/3s8pnk4e
“Summer cookouts are right around the corner and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is urging consumers to remember the four simple steps to food safety — Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill — and to steer clear of the “Danger Zone” while cooking outdoors.
What is the Danger Zone? The Danger Zone is the temperature range in which bacteria can grow faster. Bacteria can actually double in number in as little as 20 minutes when perishable food is kept in the Danger Zone. In order to steer clear of the Danger Zone, you should always:
I would like to take this opportunity to THANK ALL our wonderful volunteers who give so much of their time and talents to help fulfill WCHI’s Mission: To alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay. One of our programs is our Food Pantry, which provides food the 2nd Thursday of every month.
WCHI’s Pantry is in the Christ the King School on the St John the Baptist Church property, 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall. Since January 14, 2021, due to Covid, we have officially been providing food from the parking lot every month from 11am-1pm and 5:30-7 pm. All along we planned on having inside pantry distributions. Again, due to covid, we had to postpone bringing the operations inside twice in both September and again in January.
One of our volunteers orders 3,000-6000 pounds of food every week from Second Harvest. Another volunteer goes to Second Harvest to bring the food to the Pantry. And we are super thankful several volunteers unload all the cases of food and bring them down the basement steps into our Pantry. We are also grateful for public donations, too. The food is them separated and placed at various locations in our Pantry. A volunteer also goes to the Center for Animal Health and Welfare once a month to pick up dog and cat food.
Our Pantry was set up like a food warehouse with food located at specific locations on pallets and then the food was moved to rolling racks. For these monthly distributions, volunteers had to bag a minimum of 300 bags of food for several food stations throughout our distribution production line. For example, there may be 8 food stations. Each station had several food items in that one bag per station. And every guest received the same food at station 1. Station 2 had totally different food, but again 300 bags had been prebagged, and so on and so on until the guest finished our distribution table line and exited the parking lot onto Chestnut St.
The morning of these distributions, all this food had to be manually brought out of the basement, up steps, and put into shopping carts. The carts were then rolled down the driveway to the corresponding tables in the parking lot that the specific food needed to be stationed at. This whole operation was labor intensive. The guests all received 7 or 8 bags of different food items, but every guest went home with the same food as the household before and after them.
Thankfully, after an 18 month wait, WCHI finally received approval to open our “CHOICE” Pantry for May 12th. During our April 14th distribution, every household that attended was given an appointment card with an agreed specific time to come to the Pantry. We also mailed a postcard to every household who attended our Pantry during January through March 2022. Guests were told they needed to have a scheduled appointment to attend last week. We received many calls last week verifying appointment times and scheduling new ones for the guests who were not at the April distribution.
We officially opened our inside “CHOICE” Pantry on Thursday, May 12th from 9:30am-7pm. Our guests now come inside our Pantry during their scheduled time, get registered, and are paired with a volunteer to physically go shopping for food on a specific route throughout the Pantry. We have rolling racks set up like store shelves with specific food items on them. The amount of food a guest can take is based on the number of people in their household. After they selected their food, another volunteer takes the shopping cart to the guest’s car and helps unload it. Our guests now have the luxury of selecting the food items that they will eat and do not have to take food that they won’t eat (like the prebagged ones in April).
Last week’s Pantry transition was a huge success. Thankfully, we also had great sunny weather. Our guests were happy with the food they selected. We served 216 households, both 332 children, 332 adults, and 138 seniors for a total of 802 people. We had 46 households that were registered but were no shows. We did receive several calls, voicemails, and texts on Thursday, but could not handle the volume of calls while completing Thursday’s distribution process. Our guests can call 484-225-0358 to schedule an appointment for June 9th, but we cannot handle changes or calls the day of the distribution.
Again, WCHI could never do a project of this magnitude without all the many, many hours of hard work and dedication by our selfless volunteers. They do all this from the goodness in their hearts and they are so happy to be helping so many Whitehall and Coplay residents. Thank you again to all our volunteers!! You are WCHI!!
WCHI is so excited to finally provide inside food distributions for our Pantry guests. They will now be able to choose the foods they will eat from our inventory. We are not a food store and are limited with food items that we can provide.
Previously, we had pre-bagged food items, and everyone received the same food. Guests will now have a larger choice of food. Our inside distribution occurs on Thursday, May 12 th after the newspaper’s delivery. I will have an update for you in next week’s article.
Our next Free Community Meal is hosted by Whitehall Bible Fellowship Church, 3300 7 th St, Whitehall on Tuesday, May 17 th from 4-6:30 pm. They are providing a delicious hot meal and guests can either come in and eat inside or take out is available. Meals are guaranteed for the 1 st 100 guests. Once the food has been given out, the doors will be closed. For more info, please call Bible Fellowship Church 610-434-8861 or Karen Haberern, Free Community Meal Chair, 610-730-
WCHI is pleased to have wonderful volunteers to plant and maintain our vegetable raised beds at our WCHI Garden at the Mickley-Prydun Farm. We have a few raised beds still available for volunteers to cultivate. WCHI provides everything. We just need a couple more gardeners to help with a bed or two. These come in varying sizes. The grown vegetables are given to the children attending our Children’s Summer Feeding Program (CSFP). When the children return to school on August 29 th , the vegetables are then given to our pantry guests until the end of the growing season in October. If you are interested or have questions, please call 484-225-0358.
WCHI provides this Children’s Summer Feeding Program (CSFP) for Whitehall and Coplay Low Income Residents ONLY and there are income limit requirements. A valid driver’s license or utility bill is required to register. The parent must register the children. The CSFP will run from June 15 th though August 24 th every Monday and Wednesday 10-11 am. Once registered, the children or parent may pick up the food. Please note: if the parent is working during the Monday and Wednesday 10-11 am food distribution, WCHI will accommodate you by providing the parent with the five bags of food per child at our Whitehall Food Pantry Location, 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall in the parking lot by our shed on Wednesday evenings 6-7pm during the 10.5-week program.
This year’s CSFP highlights include providing shelf stable food for 5 breakfast and 5 lunches. This will be a drop and go food distribution. On Mondays every child will receive shelf stable food for a breakfast and a lunch for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, each child will receive shelf stable food for a breakfast and lunch for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. WCHI will also provide children with: Free books for children all summer; Christmas in July presents; and
Free filled Backpacks for school in August.
We are having four CSFP location sites this this year. We would like as many parents as possible to pre-register for two reasons
– 1. It reminds the households that this program will be held again this summer.
- 2. It lets us know how many bags to prepack for each site location. These four sites are at the same locations as last year. (The Egypt and Clementon Sites were not utilized enough last year
to keep them open again in 2022). Please register at the site closest to your home’s location and note the pre- registration Days and Times:
• Mickley Run Apts, Whitehall, Parking lot closest to the 350 building off Overlook Rd) -Tuesday, May 17 th , 5-7 pm
• Redeemed Christian Church of God, 5 N 3 rd St, Coplay -Thursday, May 19 th , 5-7 pm
• Maryland Circle Apts, 1 Maryland Circle, Whitehall -Thursday May 19 th , 5-7 pm
• St John’s Lutheran Church, 835 N 3 rd St, Whitehall - Saturday, May 21, 11am-1pm
Questions, please call Sue Butchinski, Children’s Summer Feeding Program Chair, 484-767-6022
Have a great week!!
This article is to explain our Grand Opening procedures for the Inside Pantry Guest food distribution on Thursday, May 12th from 9:30am-7:00pm. A scheduled appointment is now required. If you need an appointment, please call
484-225-0358 ASAP to accommodate you on May 12th.
Both our Pantry Guests and Volunteers will take part in a totally new and exciting shopping experience. These are our procedures.
Please call 484-225-0358 to register an appointment or to ask any questions you may have. Thank you and have a great week!!