Shari's Update - 10/2/2022
This article is on some of our WCHI Programs- Cash Bingo, Free Community Meals, Choice Food Pantry, and Senior Boxes. A huge thank you goes out to all our dedicated volunteers who make all our Programs run effortlessly.
CASH BINGO - This Sunday, October 9th, WCHI will be hosting a cash bingo at St Peter Roman Catholic Church, 4 S. 5th St, Coplay. Bingo will also be held on 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 our Food Pantry. List of needed items are at the end of this article.
The $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. For more info, call Liz Rodgers, Program Chair, 484-274-6687
FREE COMMUNITY MEALS – WCHI will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, October 18th at 11 am at our Pantry, 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall for faith-based organization and other businesses who wish to host a free community meal in 2023. The meals are held the 1st Sunday and the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 4:00-6:30pm and are guaranteed for the 1st 100 guests.
The host site decides on the food they wish to serve, provides the food, prepares, and serves the meal. Prior to Covid, all the meals were served inside the host location. We are starting to get back to inside sit-down meals, though take-out meals are up to the individual host site.
WCHI has been providing these free meals since 2015. Our low-income community looks forward to these meals for both a hot, delicious meal, but more importantly, for the socialization of meeting with new and old friends. We serve all age groups. FYI, many seniors get dressed up and view these meals as a special night out.
Thank you to both the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley (MALV) who hosted a meal on Sunday, October 2nd and to Redeemed Christian Church of God, 5 N 3rd St, Coplay who will hosting the next one on Tuesday, October 18th. For more info, call Karen Haberern, Program Chair, 610-730-3184
CHOICE FOOD PANTRY –We are located at St John the Baptist Church Complex, in the Christ the King School, 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall. Our Pantry is open on both the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays of the month from 9:30am-1pm and from 4:30-7pm. This is by appointment only and we close promptly at 1pm and 7pm. Income limits apply and proof of residency is required. Call 484-225-0358 for more info and to schedule your October appointment.
SENIOR BOXES – are available to our Pantry guests (age 60+) who qualify for an additional 35-pound food box, which includes: 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. Income limits are lower than Pantry food limits. If you financially qualify for a Senior Box, the paperwork will be completed during your Pantry visit. Once you are approved for the program, your Senior Box will be delivered to your home the following month. For more info, call Gail, Program Chair, 610-351-6412.
NEEDED PANTRY FOOD ITEMS - Canned pasta such as Chef Boyardee, Beefaroni, Ravioli; Canned soups other than cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, and vegetable; Canned beans – black, lima, lentils, chickpeas, kidney, string beans (anything to make meals with); Condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish); Ground Coffee, Hamburger Helper, Mac and Cheese Boxes, Oatmeal Packets Boxes, Pancake Mix, Pancake Syrup, 1lb Rice bags/boxes plain or flavored, Rice & Pasta Sides – Such as Knorr Pasta or Rice Packets, Tomato/ Spaghetti Sauce – cans or plastic jars. We are also starting to collect food items for Thanksgiving: Boxed Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, and Stove Top Stuffing.
All product and monetary donations are appreciated and may be dropped off, mailed, or shipped to WCHI c/o Shari Noctor at Re/Max Unlimited Real Estate, 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!!
Shari's Update - 9/24/2022
Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast PA (SHFB) provides WCHI with most of the food that we serve our Pantry guests. From 1/1/22-9/24/22, SHFB has provided WCHI with 107,126 pounds of food including dry and canned goods, refrigerator and freezer items, and fresh produce. Unfortunately, there have been many supply chain issues and food prices continue to rise. SHFB is not a grocery store, their inventory changes, and we don’t always have items we would like to give our guests.
The rest of our Pantry food comes from the public’s generous monetary & food donations. Local faith-based organizations, school clubs, and businesses host food drives for us https://tinyurl.com/WCHIdrive I am asking everyone to please continue providing WCHI with your support.
The WCHI Pantry is currently in need of several types of dry pasta except for elbow macaroni; canned pasta such as Chef Boyardee, Beefaroni, ravioli; hamburger helper; boxes of mac & cheese; 1lb Rice bags/boxes; plain or flavored, Rice & Pasta Sides – Such as Knorr Pasta or Rice Packets, canned or plastic jars of Tomato/ Spaghetti Sauce; canned soups other than cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, and vegetable; any kind of canned beans – black, lima, lentils, chickpeas, kidney, string beans (anything to make meals with); condiments i.e. ketchup, mustard, relish; boxes of cereal, pancake mix, pancake syrup, boxes of oatmeal packets; and ground coffee. We are also starting to collect food items for Thanksgiving: Stove Top Stuffing, Boxed Mashed Potatoes, and Cranberry Sauce. The food items can be store brands.
All Donations are appreciated. Food may be shipped to or dropped off at, Re/Max Unlimited Real Estate
1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052. Please leave your donations inside the foyer on the right side, Monday through Friday 8:30 AM- 5PM, Saturday 9AM-1PM & Sunday 10AM-1PM. Monetary donations can be mailed to the address above payable to WCHI or Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative.
I like to support Second Harvest as they support WCHI. The following is on SHFB’s annual fundraiser, Empty Bowls, which my husband and I have attended many times. I hope you will participate and join us at this year’s event on October 22, 2022 from 6-9 pm in Second Harvest’s Food Warehouse, 6969 Silver Crest Rd, Nazareth (1 mile east at the light at Phillips Feed store on Rte. 512 before you enter Bath).
Second Harvest Food Bank works to end food insecurity by providing nutritious food to its community, offering nutrition education, advocating to end food insecurity, dismantling barriers to create access and working to attain food justice. Second Harvest distributes food to six counties across Pennsylvania: Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Wayne. Second Harvest is a proud program of Community Action Lehigh Valley.
Empty Bowls gives community members the opportunity to enjoy a night out all while experiencing the magnitude of their warehouse and learning about the critical work they do to feed families. 6:00 pm Reception with open bar and hors d’oeuvres; 7:30 pm Dinner catered by Sodexo; 7:45 pm Award presentations.
This year’s goal is to raise $100,000 to aid in the fight to end food insecurity in the communities they serve. It’s their biggest fundraiser of the year! Empty Bowls features live music, delectable food, a silent and live auction, and the opportunity for you to support the work they do at Second Harvest.
There are sponsorship opportunities available. If interested, please contact Nicole Folino at 484.821.2401 or email@example.com Sponsorships come with ticket entry to the event or tickets may be purchased separately here: https://tinyurl.com/45bnw3au
Thank you and have a great week!!
Shari's Update - 9/18/2022
The mission of the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative from day one has been to alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay. We are doing our best to help low-income residents by offering several programs: our Choice Food Pantry, Senior Boxes, our Children’s Food Program, and our Free Community Meals. The following explains the highlights of each of the programs. For more in-depth info, please call
CHOICE FOOD PANTRY: We are located at St John the Baptist Church Complex, in the Christ the King School, 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall. Our Pantry is open on both the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays of the month from 9:30am-1pm and from 4:30-7pm. This is by appointment only and we close promptly at 1pm and 7pm. Income limits apply and proof of residency is required. Call 484-225-0358 today to schedule your October appointment. The table below summarizes the recent Pantry attendance.
WCHI Food Pantry Attendance
WCHI is now offering SENIOR BOXES to our Pantry guests (age 60+) who may also qualify for an additional 35-pound food box, which includes: 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. Income limits are lower than Pantry food limits. If you financially qualify for a Senior Box, the paperwork will be completed during your Pantry visit. Once you are approved for the program, your Senior Boxes will be delivered to your home monthly.
CHILDREN’S FOOD PROGRAM: WCHI was administrating the Snack Pack Pal program with the Whitehall-Coplay School District for a few years. We obtained the shelf stable food, packed 157 bags, and then delivered them to the school for distribution to each of the school buildings. A Snack Pack Pal bag provided additional food for the child for long weekends when school was closed. Some children were not taking the shelf stable bags of food we packed and delivered to the school. We found out they either didn’t like the food we provided and/or there was the food insecurity stigma. We also noticed we were feeding many more children monthly through our Pantry.
At our monthly pantry distributions, we are now going to provide more food specifically for Children. The parents select the food items so we know they will eat the food and there is no stigma at our Pantry. This is a win-win for the children. We have renamed the “Snack Pack Pal Program” the “Children’s Food Program” and have all the donated funds in this new account. We no longer are providing Snack Pack Pals to the School District. For those parents who have not attended our Pantry, please schedule your appointment today. See paragraph two above.
FREE COMMUNITY MEALS: WCHI and the Faith-Based Community are proud to provide these FREE
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 4:00-6:30 pm. Meals are guaranteed for the first 100 guests. Once the meals have been given out, the doors will be closed. A note will be posted that the meals are all finished, and this may be well before 6:30pm. Each site location will state if this is an inside or outside “Drop & Go” pick up distribution or if it is a dine-in meal. WCHI will post site requirements on Facebook for each meal a few days before.
Below is our October schedule:
Sunday, Oct 2, Muslim Assoc of the Lehigh Valley (MALV), 1988 Schadt Ave., Whitehall 703-346-8698 Tuesday, Oct 18, Redeemed Christian Church of God, 5 N. 3rd St., Coplay 610-262-8993
Our Free Community Meals are scheduled through December 2022. A meeting will be held on October 18th at our Pantry at 11 am with the faith-based Community to schedule the 2023 meals.
Please call 484-225-0358 with questions on anything above. Have a great week!!
Shari's Update - 8/28/2022
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!!
Shari's Update - 8/20/2022
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!!
Shari's Update 8/13/2022
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!!
Shari's Update - 7/29/2022
WCHI’s Children’s Summer Feeding Program (CSFP) has 8 more days until the program finishes on August 24th. School starts again on August 29th. WCHI provides bagged food for each child in the household a baby through age 18 every Monday and Wednesday from 10-11am at one of our four CSFP locations.
Whitehall and Coplay residents can still register their children during our open hours at each of our four program sites: Redeemed Christian Church of God, 5 N 3rd St Coplay; Maryland Circle Apts at 1 Maryland Circle; Mickley Run Apts in the parking lot closest to the 350 building; and St John’s Lutheran Church, 835 3rd St. The latter three are in Whitehall. You will need a driver’s license or proof of residency to register, and income limits do apply. Questions, please call Sue, CSFP Chair, at 484-767-6022.
On Monday each child receives one bag of shelf stable food for two breakfasts and two lunches. On Wednesday, the bagged food includes three breakfast and three lunches. WCHI rotates two Monday and two Wednesday bags of food. One Monday bag contains a jar of peanut butter, a can of vegetable soup and fruit mix, 2 8-oz shelf stable milk, mac & cheese, a small candy bar, and 1 oatmeal packet. The other Monday bag include beef stew, 2 granola bars, 2 8-oz shelf stable milk, a pineapple cup, crackers, and a cereal box. The Wednesday bags are either a can of tuna or chicken, vegetable soup and canned peaches, a small bag of chips, raisins,,3 8-oz shelf stable milk, 1 oatmeal packet and a box of cereal. The 2nd Wednesday bag includes a cereal box, 3 8-oz shelf stable milk, 1 can of applesauce, 1 tuna and 1 skettios, 2 granola bars, 1 beef stew and 1 oatmeal packet. Items may be substituted on obtainability. Also, when available, we provide fresh produce from our WCHI Garden, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Knights of Columbus.
In June we provided 1,352 meals and in July we provided 1,896 meals. We have plenty of food to serve more children. Unfortunately, we are serving less children than last year. We know the need is greater this year with the high gas and food prices. Please tell your Whitehall-Coplay friends, family, and neighbors about our program. They can still come through August 24th.
Also in July, WCHI provided a toy for each child for “Christmas in July”. Steve Parrish, Financial Advisor for Edward Jones, Whitehall hosted a client holiday appreciation party last year. His clients provided the toys and Steve provided them to us for the children. This was a surprise for the kids.
In August, WCHI will be supplying a bag of toiletries to each child including tissues, soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant & feminine products for the older children. Our Lehigh County grant provides the funds for these toiletries, food, and other items related to the program. Second Harvest provides most of the food. And we receive generous product and monetary donations from Whitehall and Coplay residents
The WCHI Garden at Mickley-Prydun Farm has several volunteers planting, weeding, watering, etc and have been harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and string beans for the CSFP. The children love getting fresh vegetables. After CSFP finishes, the vegetables will be going to our Pantry guests. Questions, please call Gwen, Garden Chair, at
We could not be providing our Children’s Program without our selfless volunteers!! Many, many people obtained all our required child abuse clearances and are involved with this operation from picking up and unloading the food from Second Harvest; sorting and packing the dry food, fresh vegetables, and toiletry bags; loading and unloading the cars to go to the distribution sites; growing the vegetables; and serving the children for 10.5 weeks. These volunteers are truly an amazing group of fine people.
For everyone who helped with our Children’s Summer Feeding Program, YOU truly made a difference in these children’s lives!!!
Have a great week!!
Shari's Update - 7/23/2022
Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI) has come a long way from August 2014 when I first attended a Communities that Care (CTC) meeting and became the chairperson to address Hunger in Whitehall and Coplay. Even today, many residents do not realize that Whitehall and Coplay still have many food-insecure adults, children, and seniors. It would be wonderful if everyone had food in their homes. But I know that not everyone does. If you know a family member, neighbor, friend, or you yourself need food, WCHI is here to help.
In October 2015, a separate division of the CTC was established called the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI). Partnering with local faith-based organizations, WCHI began providing free community meals the third Tuesday of each month, for community residents who would benefit from socialization and nutrition.
WCHI has now expanded to include two free meals a month. All are welcome to attend both meals on the 1st Sunday and 3rd Tuesday from 4:00-6:30pm. Meals are guaranteed for the first 100 guests. WCHI will post site requirements on Facebook for each meal a couple days before. The next meal will be on Sunday, August 7th at Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley (MALV), 1988 Schadt Ave, Whitehall Questions, call Karen 610-730-3184
WCHI broke away from Communities that Care and became a separate entity in 2016. WCHI strongly believes in CTC and still has representation at their meetings.
In 2017, WCHI secured our 501c3 tax status. WCHI also provided a 10-week free summer breakfast camp for food insecure school age children at St John’s Lutheran Church, 835 3rd St, Whitehall and at Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Coplay. In 2018, additional summer breakfast camps were added.
Currently, we do a Children’s Summer Feeding Program for any Whitehall and Coplay household with children aged a baby through 18 every Monday and Wednesday 10-11 am at four locations: St Johns Lutheran, Mickley Run Apartments at the 350 building, 1 Maryland Circle all in Whitehall and RCCG in Coplay. Bagged food is provided both days. Registration is required. This program will end on August 24th. Questions, call Sue at 484-767-6022.
In 2020, WCHI started a vegetable garden at the Mickley-PrydunFarm. More on our garden in a future article.
In 2020, Covid-19 closed everything down. WCHI quickly created a Community Outreach Program (COP) which provided food to children, adults, and seniors residing in Whitehall and Coplay. WCHI opened two locations – our original two for the summer breakfast program – St John’s Lutheran and RCCG. We provided several prebagged food for each household every other Thursday from March through October 2020 until daylight savings time forced us to close evening operations due safety for our guests and volunteers.
WCHI knew we needed to find a permanent pantry location and started searching in the late spring of 2020. We wanted to be in the middle of Whitehall Twp and close to Coplay. In the meantime, Jeff Warren, a Whitehall Twp Commissioner, told me about a Cares grant application available through Lehigh County. We applied for this grant in anticipation of finding a location. We were able to secure a Pantry location thanks to St John the Baptist Church in their Christ the King School, 3024 S Ruch St, which is in the middle of Whitehall. Unbelievably, Coplay Boro is across the Street!!
Due to Covid, we held the Grand Opening of our Pantry for outside food distribution on January 21st, 2021 (the 2nd Thursday of the month) 10:30-1 and 5:30-7. We remained outside through the April 2022 distribution. WCHI had received clearance in February (depending on future Covid numbers) to move indoors in May.
On May 12th we opened our CHOICE Pantry inside and had all our guests arrive at their scheduled time. We were open from 9:30 straight through 7 pm. Our guests are registered and then paired with a volunteer who helps them select the foods that they will eat. The Pantry is set up like a store.
Due to the volume of Whitehall and Coplay households we are serving, WCHI is now open both the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays of the month from 9:30-1pm and 4:30-7pm. August 11th is completely booked. Available appointments are now being scheduled for August 18th. Please call 484-225-0358 sooner than later to guarantee your appointment.
Have a great week.
Shari's Update - 7/17/2022
WCHI is very proud to help so many Whitehall and Coplay residents!! We opened our “Choice” Food Pantry for inside distribution in May to offer our guests the ability to choose the foods that they would eat. Our Pantry is set up like a grocery store and we offer several food groups including canned fruits and vegetables; canned proteins like tuna fish, salmon, chicken, beans; grains like rice, pasta, cereal; ready to eat foods like beef stew, mac & cheese, canned soups; snacks; coffee; condiments; baby food; and toiletry items.
These items were also always provided for our guests at our outside distributions. Our volunteers packed the bagged items for each food group and transported them outside to the corresponding table. The guests then were registered and drove through our production line in our parking lot stopping at each table where a volunteer would put the bagged items in their cars. Our hours were from 10:00-1 and 4:30-7pm. Everyone received the same bagged food items.
WCHI is very pleased to have our guests now come inside our Pantry. After they are registered, a volunteer provides a shopping cart and a check off list of what foods are available that day. The volunteer then goes with our guest as they shop through our Pantry. This is great because our guests now have the choice to select the food they will eat. Our food and toiletry selection varies monthly and is while supplies last.
In May we registered manually as we always had since January 2021. We were open from 9:30 straight through 7 pm. WCHI served 236 households consisting of 357 adults, 351 children, and 151 seniors for a total of 859 people and had 25 registered new households.
In June, we served the similar amount of people as in May, but not every household comes every month. We served 240 households consisting of 362 adults, 360 children, and 150 seniors for a total of 872 people and registered 20 new households. In June we purchased a brand-new computer program so we can easily digitally register our guests.
Also, before the June distribution, WCHI decided to be open on the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays of the month. Not every guest could not make the 2nd Thursday with their work schedules (some work 2 and 3 jobs). And the days were very long for our volunteers. Some volunteers worked 3-4 hour shifts and others worked straight through the day with a lunch break. With our new computer program, when we registered the guests in June, the guests also selected their registration time for July.
We are now open both the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays of the month from 9:30-1pm and 4:30-7pm. Appointments are required several days before our Thursday distributions. A family member, neighbor, or friend can bring residents who do not have transportation. We also work with mobility impaired guests who cannot walk far or do steps. You will remain in the parking lot. We will register you and a volunteer will do your shopping. First-time guests are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment. A household can only come once a month. Evert time a guest attends, they need their driver’s license or picture ID and proof of residency like an electric bill. Please call 484-225-0358 with questions and/or to schedule your appointment
WCHI is fortunate to obtain most of our food needs from Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) and from purchases WCHI makes with public monetary donations. From January 1, 2022 - June 30, 2022, WCHI ordered and received 177,439 pounds of food from SHFB. WCHI also receives grant money from Lehigh County and the Diocese of Allentown. Food donations come from the public and from both faith based and civic organizations doing food drives for us. Your generosity is always greatly appreciated.
Our Food Pantry currently needs baby food, breakfast cereal, and summer condiments like ketchup, mustard, and relish. All Donations are appreciated and may be shipped or dropped off at my Re/Max Unlimited Real Estate office, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052. Please leave your donations inside the foyer on the right side, Monday through Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-1pm & Sunday 10am-12pm. THANK YOU and have a great week!!
Shari's Update - 7/1/2022
WCHI’s Children’s Summer Feeding Program is continuing to grow with more attendance every week. WCHI has 117 children registered. There are 4 site locations, and we are open every Monday and Wednesday from 10-11am. Registration is ongoing through August 24th for low-income Whitehall Twp and Coplay Boro children - a baby through age 18. Parents must register their children before our pre-bagged food can be disbursed. Program highlights include 5 shelf stable breakfasts and 5 shelf stable lunches per week (2 on Monday and 3 on Wednesday), Free books for the children all summer, Christmas in July, and Free filled backpacks for school age children in August. For more info call Sue Butchinski, Program Chair, at 484-767-6022.
WCHI is proud that Second Harvest Food Bank selected us to be one of three Healthy Food Pantry Initiatives in Lehigh County, which offers healthier low fat and low salt products, when possible. We are also pleased to be doing inside food distributions where our guests select the food items that they will eat. Our guests choose from several food types: canned fruit and vegetables, grains, ready to eat food, snacks, coffee/beverages, condiments, refrigerated and frozen foods, and toiletries. We also try to provide fresh produce, when available. Our guests have told us that they really like our “choice pantry” compared to our outside pre-bagged food items.
We are thankful that we are now doing inside operations just at the right time when food and gas prices started rising. Although these prices are affecting everyone, low-income residents on fixed income really need our support. They do not have extra money for food, toiletries, gas, and medicine. We have given out food several times in the last few weeks for people who have nothing to eat. For example, their net income is $800 a month, $500 goes for rent, and $300 is left for gas to get to work, and food. No one in America should ever be hungry. But this is a reality in Whitehall and Coplay.
Because of the increased need for food, our WCHI Pantry is now open the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays from 9:30am-1:30pm and 4:30-7:00pm. Everyone must have an appointment so that everything runs smoothly and efficiently for pantry operations. No worries, we will not be running out of food. For more info, please call WCHI at 484-225-0358.
I also wanted to let you know about two USDA Food Security Programs called the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). Both provide WIC recipients and low-income Seniors with fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from approved farmers in Pennsylvania.
FMNP –Eligibility If you are a WIC participant, you are eligible for $24 worth of vouchers if you are pregnant, breast feeding and/or postpartum. You are also eligible for $24 worth of vouchers for each child age 6 months to 5 years. You would receive the benefit during your quarterly WIC visit (May - September) and you will be given a list of participating vendors.
SFMNP – Eligibility Seniors are eligible for vouchers if they are or will be 60 years of age during the program year and have a household income at or below $25,142 for 1 person in the household or $33,874 for 2 people in the household. There are higher income limits for more people than two in the household.
How to Apply---Call the Lehigh County Aging office at 610-782-3255 to find out when and where they are distributing the checks/vouchers. In the past, Lehigh County social workers visited Senior Centers and Senior High-Rise apartments to distribute the vouchers.
How the Program works: Each eligible recipient receives 4-$6.00 SFMNP checks to redeem at a qualified farmer’s market or roadside stand. We are fortunate to have a location right in Whitehall. Lazarus Farm Market, 3605 Rural Rd. Lazarus is at the light where road forks on Mauch Chunk Rd and Rural Rd, across the street from Fellowship Community. They are open Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm, Sat: 9am-5pm. (610) 799-3831
Have a great week!!