THANK YOU!! A huge shout out and thank you goes to all our fabulous Volunteers, our monetary and food Donors, Second Harvest Food Bank, Diocese of Allentown and St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, Lehigh County Commissioners for approving CDBG grants, Whitehall Township and Coplay Borough, Hokey Fire Department and Fire Hall members and volunteers, WCSD, and all the Whitehall-Coplay and Catholic School clubs and Lehigh Valley businesses that do food and toiletry drives for us. We could not do our programs without your support!! We are so blessed to have such a great group of interested and dedicated people all working together to help our community.
BINGO - WCHI will be offering bingo at St Peter Roman Catholic Church, 4 South 5th St, Coplay April 2nd on Palm Sunday. Doors will open at 1pm and bingo starts at 2pm. Please mark your calendars. Fabulous food is available to purchase. 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 specials are $5. Bingo chips and dabbers are available for purchase on site and through Amazon or Jackpot Amusements, 5827 Colony Dr, Bethlehem 610-837-9240. This is our last WCHI bingo until September 10th. Questions and reservations, please call Liz Rodgers, Program Chair, 484-274-6687
FREE COMMUNITY MEALS -- WCHI, partnering with the Faith-Based Community and others, 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 4:00-6:00pm. Meals are guaranteed for the first 100 guests and will be an inside sit-down meal at the host locations. There are no more takes out meals. WCHI will post a meal reminder on Facebook and Instagram and send a text to out Pantry guests.
We do not have a meal on April 2nd due to the Palm Sunday Holiday. Our next free meal is on Tuesday,
April 18th at Redeemed Christian Church of God, 5 N 3rd St, Coplay 610-262-8993. Questions about hosting a meal for 2024 or guests wanting more info, please call Karen Haberern, Program Chair, at 610-730-3184.
FOOD DRIVES—THANK YOU to our local Community members who have done or who currently are hosting food drives for WCHI with their friends, churches, housing subdivisions, service clubs, businesses, youth groups, boys & girl scouts, schools, etc. You can too!! Please call 484-225-0358 or register your food drive at https://tinyurl.com/WCHIdrive so we are aware and can thank you.
MONETARY DONATIONS--are appreciated and can be made payable to Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative, C/O Shari Noctor, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052. Please put in the memo section where you want your donation applied. The Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is a 501 (c) (3) IRS approved nonprofit organization and your donation may be tax deductible. Please discuss with your financial advisor.
OUR SOCIALS--Please visit our website https://tinyurl.com/WCHIhome; Like us on Facebook https://tinyurl.com/WCHIfb Follow us on Instagram https://tinyurl.com/IGWCHunger .
Questions, call Susan, Communications Chair, 610-440-1659.
When I grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, many people volunteered their time to help people through their churches and social organizations. When I first started working in the 1980’s, my employer at that time, strongly suggested that each employee select a community project and provide community service hours. This was not mandatory, but many of us did volunteer a couple hours a month.
As the years moved on, I have seen less people volunteering and many have totally gone away from volunteering altogether. People’s lives are busier than when I grew up, but the need for volunteerism is still strong. I am happy that the schools require community service hours.
Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is a 100% volunteer organization. We could never do any of our programs that help our Whitehall and Coplay residents without our Volunteer’s continued support, time, and talents. Our volunteers are a wonderful group of selfless people. And they all are really nice and work well together!!
Would you be able to help WCHI help others? All our volunteers must have state required criminal background clearances since we work with children. For a full list of our requirements and to register, please go to our website https://tinyurl.com/WCHIvolunteer Questions, e-mail Sylvia Lee, Program Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org
I googled to see what benefits occur when people volunteer, and this info is from https://tinyurl.com/42avw7u2 Once on the site you may need to scroll up. The site is Helpguide.org and you may need to type in Volunteer.
“WHY VOLUNTEER? - With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering can be enormous. Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right match can help you to find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career.
Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.
VOLUNTEERING CONNECTS YOU TO OTHERS - One of the more well-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. And volunteering is a two-way street: It can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND CONTACTS - One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. It strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.
INCREASE YOUR SOCIAL AND RELATIONSHIP SKILLS - While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it's easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.
VOLUNTEEREING AS A FAMILY - Children watch everything you do. By giving back to the community, you'll show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help other people and animals and enact change. It's also a valuable way for you to get to know organizations in the community and find resources and activities for your children and family.”
WCHI CHOICE PANTRY --We are located at St John the Baptist Church, 3024 S Ruch St, Whitehall. Our Pantry is open on both the 2nd and 3rd Thursday 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.
Requirements: We serve Whitehall Twp and Coplay Boro residents. Please present two forms of ID to verify residency (a valid photo ID, if available, and/or utility bills). Income limits apply per the household size. For example: a household size of one person can have monthly income of $2,095 or less to qualify; a household of four people can have monthly income of $4,278 or less to qualify. No income paperwork is required. Please call 484-225-0358 to schedule your appointment.
Whitehall and Coplay residents can only visit once a month. First time attendees, come to the parking lot behind the Church and a volunteer will give your directions. For our guests, who have mobility issues, don’t worry. A WCHI volunteer will shop for you and bring the food to your car in the Church parking lot. No smoking is permitted anywhere on Church property.
WCHI is proud that Second Harvest Food Bank selected us to be one of three Healthy Food Pantry Initiatives (HPI) in Lehigh County, which offers healthier low fat and low salt products, when possible. After we register our guests, a volunteer takes them shopping though our Choice Pantry. Our guests choose from several food types: canned fruit and vegetables, protein (canned tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter), grains (includes rice/pasta/cereal), ready to eat food, condiments, snacks, coffee, baby food, refrigerated and frozen foods, and fresh produce. Our guests also have choices for toiletry items: baby diapers, adult diapers, feminine napkins, tissues, and toilet paper. All items are based on availability. Our guests tell us that they really like our Choice Pantry since they get to choose the items they will eat and the toiletries they will use. Questions, call Jenn Dietz, HPI Program Chair, at 717-880-8546.
SENIOR FOOD BOX PROGRAM (SFBP) offered through WCHI 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.
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 monthly income of $1,580 to qualify for a senior box. In a four-person household, the maximum monthly income for all four people must be at or below $3,250 for the senior to receive a box. These limits just changed in March.
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 one. 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. You may qualify for a Senior Box, even though you do not wish to obtain Pantry food.
WCHI is committed to helping as many low-income Whitehall and Coplay residents as possible in our area that qualify for 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. Questions, call Gail, SFBP Program Chair, at 610-351-6412.
Submitted by Gwen Herzog, Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative’s Vegetable Garden Chair
As a vegetable gardener, for me, the saddest day of the year is putting my garden to bed in the fall when the forecast of frost looms. My parents come over to help me remove all the vegetables still on the vine, pull the plants, and get the cages, stakes, and ties stored away. It always amazes me how many end-of-season vegetables we remove, box, and stack in my garage for friends, neighbors, and family to pick over. In 2022, I was honored to take on the responsibility of chairing the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative’s Garden located at the Mickley-Pyrdun Farm. The WCHI garden was also put to bed last October providing me with a second sad day.
Vegetable gardening has been a part of my life since I was a kid. My parents had a garden in our yard that expanded throughout my childhood. I helped my mom pick, clean, freeze, and can vegetables that would feed our family throughout the fall, winter, and spring. When I worked in West Virginia my landlords allowed me to use the flower beds around the house to grow a vegetable garden. When I returned to Pennsylvania and purchased my house in Whitehall, I continued the practice of using the flower beds around the house to grow vegetables. My mom once told me my house needed curb appeal. I told her I didn’t care, I wanted to grow vegetables. She, along with other family, friends, neighbors, and the Pantry now enjoys sharing my garden bounty all summer long.
Did you know that our Pantry will gladly accept any fresh extra produce you would like to share with our Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative Community? Our guests like to cook and gratefully accept fresh vegetables and fruit when they visit our Pantry. Vegetables and fruit are also used and shared at our Free Community Meals. When planning your garden for 2023, why not plant an extra plant or even an extra row for our WCHI Pantry? Your donated bounty may be dropped off at Shari Noctor’s Re/Max Unlimited Real Estate office, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall. Feel free to reach out on our WCHI website, Facebook page, or call/text me directly at 610-379-6823 to arrange for pickup of your extra produce.
Another way you can help our Pantry provide fresh vegetables to our guests this summer is to help at our WCHI Garden. We need volunteers to help plant, water, weed, harvest, cut grass, and weed whack. No experience is needed, but clearances are required. Last year despite a late start, we had a very successful year! We harvested: 89 zucchini, 263 eggplants, 503 peppers, 127 bags of grape/cherry tomatoes, 24 cucumbers, 7 bags of string beans, 8 large tomatoes, and 5 heads of cauliflower. Many of these vegetables went to households at our Children’s Summer Feeding Program and the rest were shared on our monthly Pantry distribution days. For 2023, we are planning to grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, and squash. Indoor seed planting, weeding, and vegetable bed prep will start in March.
The best day for this gardener is when the vegetable plants and string bean seeds go into the ground. It’s an exciting time filled with high expectations for what the plants will provide throughout the summer. If you are a vegetable gardener, I wish you a bounty-filled summer that you can share with others! If you have never grown a vegetable garden, why not give it a try? You can start with even just a single plant. Still not sure? Join us at the Pantry Garden and give it a try.
Since its creation in 2015, the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI) has monitored trends impacting the community, economic policies, demographic changes, and program funding opportunities to achieve our Mission to alleviate food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay.
Many Whitehall-Coplay residents have difficulty understanding that there truly are many of our neighbors in need of food. The WCHI Food Pantry, located at 3024 S. Ruch St. Whitehall, distributed food to 966 individuals during the month of January 2023. This number includes not only distributions during the scheduled bi-monthly food distributions, but also emergency food for families who are running out of food. We registered 17 new households. Please note that WCHI is the source for emergency food call 484-225-0358.
Many people cannot believe that close to 1,000 Whitehall-Coplay residents need supplemental food for their households. Let me assure you - this need for basic food is real, and it will get worse before it gets better. We do have many low-income residents in all areas of Whitehall and Coplay. Things happen in people’s lives. Pantry guests share financial challenges that are related to the increased cost of rent, gas, utilities, food, medications, health care, job loss, and cost of living increases in all areas. Many times, there is just not enough money remaining monthly to purchase food for the household.
As economic challenges accelerated, WCHI has reorganized its programs to best meet the needs of our community. WCHI was selected as one of three Pantries in Lehigh County by Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) to be part of a Healthy Pantry Initiative. The emphasis is to provide healthier food choices by providing food products with lower sugar and salt. Under the guidance of SHFB, our Pantry has been able to provide an increased volume of food to each household. WCHI also is a CHOICE Pantry, where the food in our Pantry is displayed by food groups, like a grocery store. Guests now select their food based on their preferences compared to when WCHI prepared pre-bagged food. Everyone received the same bagged food items when we were doing outside distributions through April 2022.
Another initiative WCHI focused on is providing healthy food to an increased number of children. To consolidate initiatives towards this goal, the Snack Pack Pals Program and the Children’s Summer Feeding Program are now incorporated into our bi-monthly Food Pantry distributions. During our January 2023 distribution, 351 children received food. The number of children served each month has doubled from our other two previous children’s programs. And the food has more nutritional value and is of greater quantity. In addition, all low-income children (a baby through age 17) that live in Whitehall and Coplay can receive supplemental food -- including children who are home schooled, attend charter or private schools.
We know that if the children within a household are food insecure, the additional household members will also need food. This is another reason for incorporating the previous two children’s programs into the Food Pantry Program. 420 adults (ages 18-59) were given food in January from WCHI. Many people are not aware that a Food Pantry supplies only several days-worth of food for a household—not a month’s worth of food. And Pantries are not grocery stores with tons of inventory. WCHI also provides information on additional food resources, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Pennsylvania Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
WCHI worked with SHFB in the fall to initiate the PA Senior Food Box Program (SFBP) at our Pantry. After approved with verified income limit eligibility for the program, the senior (ages 60+) is provided with an additional 35 lb. box of shelf stable food during their Pantry visit. 195 seniors attended our Food Pantry in January. Of the 195 seniors who attended our Food Pantry, 38 qualified Seniors also took home their Senior Box. (SFBP) Income limits to qualify are much lower than Pantry income limits. Both are set by the government.
Due to supply shortages, increased food costs, and other causes, SHFB has experienced a decrease in available Pantry inventory. WCHI Food Pantry receives 90% of our food products from SHFB. WCHI is very fortunate and grateful to have dedicated Whitehall-Coplay residents, organizations, and businesses who through their constant donations have provided funds and food product to fill the deficit in our inventory.
In 2022, WCHI purchased $8,612 in food for the Pantry. Due to today’s economy, WCHI spent over $1,800 for food the first six weeks of 2023 - almost 21% of what we spent for the entire last year. THANK YOU again to Second Harvest, Lehigh County, all the residents, organizations, and businesses that support WCHI!! We could not help so many residents without YOU!!!
Our next Free Community Meal will be hosted by St Peter Roman Catholic Church, 4 S 5th St, Coplay from 4-6pm. This is Dine-in only for the 1st 100 guests. Questions: 610-262-2417.
The last EXTRA payment for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will be sent in February. SNAP was previously known as Food Stamps. SNAP has a maximum monthly amount based on the household size and the money can only be used for food purchases. For example, a household of 1 may receive up to a maximum of $281 a month. Divide that by 31 days, this comes out to $9.06 a day. A household of 4, maximum payment is up to $938 or $7.56 a day per person; and a household of 8 is $1691 or $6.82 per person.
WCHI and all Food Pantries are expecting rising new guest registrations to occur for the next several months due to reduced SNAP income starting in March and due to the continued increases in food and gas prices. We also expect to have guests return that have not been attending on a regular basis. WCHI is currently feeding close to 1,000 people a month. WCHI, and many other agencies, are making a difference in people’s lives.
The New SNAP 2022-2023 Monthly Income Guidelines to qualify vary by household size. For example, a one-person household monthly income max is $2,266; a four-person monthly household income max is $4,626. To see if you qualify for SNAP benefits and to apply over the phone, please contact Second Harvest Food Bank 484-821-2406.
Below is from the PA Department of Human Services website https://tinyurl.com/4uunn3ak
END OF SNAP EXTRA PAYMENTS: SNAP Emergency Allotments (EAs) are an additional SNAP payment that has been paid during the second half of each month since the pandemic started in 2020. These payments were authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Starting in March 2023, SNAP households will only receive their regular SNAP payment.
IF YOU HAVE CHIDREN: SNAP recipients who are pregnant or have kids under 5 may be able to get help buying food from PA WIC. You can call 1-800-WIC-WINS or apply online at https://www.pawic.com/
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE ARE A SENIOR RECEIVING SNAP: Beyond local charitable food programs like community food pantries, there are two food assistance programs specifically in place to help seniors access fresh, nutritious foods. The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides eligible seniors with vouchers redeemable at more than 800 farm stands and more than 200 farmers' markets in Pennsylvania. The Senior Food Box Program can also provide eligible seniors with additional shelf-stable groceries. WCHI DOES PROVIDE SENIOR BOXES. Call Gail at 484-951-8447 for more information.
When is the final extra payment? February 2023 will be the last month EAs are sent, and SNAP households will only receive one regular SNAP payment starting in March. This change will happen automatically for all SNAP recipients.
Why are the Emergency Allotments ending? EAs are ending due to passage of the recent federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.
I have extra SNAP funds on my card. Will they expire after February 2023? No – any unspent SNAP funds roll over each month. As long as you use your EBT card regularly, your SNAP benefits will not expire. SNAP benefits only expire if you do not use your card for nine months.
How will I know if my SNAP payment is changing? This extra payment is ending for all SNAP households in March 2023. All recipients will receive a notice via mail about the change in SNAP payments and resources available if they need help because of this change.
I hope you found this information helpful. Have a great week!!
My church, St John’s Episcopal Church, Palmerton has been providing free community meals since 1976. When I started the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI) in 2015, I already knew several pastors in Whitehall and Coplay. I had contacted every Whitehall and Coplay church and scheduled a meeting in October 2015 to plan the WCHI 2016 meals.
During this October 2015 meeting, we discussed that these sit down, dine-in meals are intended both to feed our low-income Whitehall and Coplay residents and to give them a social outlet to interact with others, if the guest chose to be social. No registration or income-limit paperwork is required. Guests just come in, sit down, and are given a hot meal. That day, all WCHI’s 2016 Free Community Meals were scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month with our Faith- Based Partners.
WCHI and our faith-based & other partners have grown over the years. Prior to Covid, we had been providing these FREE Community Meals twice a month. A huge shout out THANK YOU goes to everyone who has helped WCHI with these meals from 2015 through today. Some Partners host more than one meal a year. Our guests are truly appreciative that we offer this Outreach Program.
During covid when it was safe, we provided a “drop and go-take out meal” program. In 2023, we now returned to sit down, dine-in meals. There are no longer any take-out meals. Our community guests benefit from dine-in meals with both socialization and a nutritious hot meal. Prior to covid, dine-in meals were a huge event for our guests. It still is a social time to dine out with friends, both old and new. Several dress up for the occasion. It is ok if a guest wants to sit alone. WCHI and our Meal Host Partners are glad to be back inside to see the happiness and a sense of normalcy from our guests.
All low-income Whitehall and Coplay residents are welcome to attend both meals on the 1st Sunday and 3rd Tuesday each month from 4:00-6:00pm. Meals are guaranteed for the first 100 guests and again will be only an inside sit-down meal at the host locations. WCHI posts a meal reminder on Facebook and Instagram. And our Pantry guests also receive a meal text reminder. Also, we provide this year’s meal schedule fliers for the guest to take home. And the meals are posted on our website.
Our February Free Community Meals are:
Sunday, February 5th at St Peter Roman Catholic Church, 4 South 5th St, Coplay 610-262-2417
Tuesday, February 21st at Whitehall Bible Fellowship Church, 3300 7th St, Whitehall 610-434-8661
These quotes are from our host sites chairs and are members of WCHI.
“St Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Fullerton is honored to host Community meals every March and November. It gives us the opportunity for our parishioners to come together in good fellowship to prepare and serve a delicious meal to our community. We look forward to our March dinner and hope that many will come to enjoy the meal with us.” Mary Spieker
“Whitehall Active Community Center hosted their first Community Meal in January 2023. Being a Community Center as well as a Senior Center, we decided to give back to our local residents by offering a free Community Meal through WCHI. It was a huge success, and we hope to host more in the future.” Lana Snyder, President
“The 1st Presbyterian Church of Hokendauqua has always been a family and neighborhood-oriented church committed to helping our community where needed. When asked to do a community meal for WCHI, we were glad to be able to help those who need food security and fellowship by doing what we like to do – feeding people” Sue Butchinski
“Here at the Muslim Community Center (MALV), when we host a free community meal, we see the opportunity to fulfill one of our religious duties to feed people. We cannot describe the joy and the pleasure it brings us while serving our community” Deeba Jamal hosts three meals.
“We show the love of God by our commitment to meeting the needs of the community. We thank WCHI for the privilege and the opportunity to be a blessing. We look forward to hosting three WCHI meals for the community this year.” Pastor Bola Akomolede, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Coplay
“St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church's mission statement is: Feeding People, Body, Mind and Spirit. When the opportunity arose to assist WCHI provide a Free Community Meal to local residents, we felt we could help our neighbors as well as fulfill our mission statement. We are happy to host two meals per year.” Lana Snyder
“Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (SOTH) has always had a passion for helping others. Our Church hosts regular food drives for the WCHI Food Pantry. (SOTH) hosts two Free Community Meals for WCHI every year. We are committed to serving our community.” Karen Haberern, WCHI Free Community Meal Chair 610-730-8184
WCHI also has Whitehall Bible Fellowship Church providing four meals, St John the Baptist Church providing one meal, and St Peter Roman Catholic Church providing two meals. Thank you everyone for helping WCHI feed our community!!
Have a great week!!
As we start the New Year, I wish all of you a Happy and Healthy 2023!!
I wanted to see what last year’s top New Year’s Resolutions were, so I googled, and many responses came up. I went with the 1st one. These are the top four from Country Living. https://tinyurl.com/e68jxkzd 1. Lose weight 2. Eat healthier or change diet 3. Get fitter and take more exercise and 4. Spend more time with family and friends. Oddly enough, these are my top four every year and they seem to work for about 6 weeks!! But seriously, these are all great goals.
Since Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is all about food, I wanted to give you information on USDA’s My Plate. You can see it at www.myplate.gov As I looked at their website, I was excited. It was updated with tons of info and ways to help you lose weight and eat healthier. They even have an app. If you do not have a computer, please go to your local library. This information is useful.
I am now walking you through their site. On the home page, you will see Learn how to eat healthy with MyPlate and you will see a plate with the 5 major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grain, protein, and dairy. I hit the orange box Explore MyPlate. Scroll down and each section will give you more information on how much to eat and what the benefits are. Each food group also has its own page of information.
While you are still on the Explore MyPlate page, scroll down to Make Every Bite Count. This is a great section. You can get a personalized MyPlate Plan that's right for you by clicking on the link. The plan is based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. I did this. For my info, it said 1800 calorie to maintain my current weight (157 lbs) but suggested a 1600 calorie diet to achieve a healthy weight. I clicked on the 1600 calorie diet. Click on the food group buttons to learn more and get started. Download your MyPlate Plan.
I clicked on the download link, and it provided me with a beautiful, colored two-page document that I printed. It said Start Simple with MyPlate Plan. The benefits of healthy eating add up over time, bite by bite. Small changes matter. A healthy eating routine is important at every stage of life and can have positive effects that add up over time. It’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy or fortified soy alternatives. When deciding what to eat or drink, choose options that are full of nutrients. Make every bite count.
Then it gave the food groups and how much to eat for a 1600 Calorie a day diet. Fruits: 1.5 cups -Focus on whole fruits that are fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. Vegetables: 2 cups - Choose a variety of colorful fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables -make sure to include dark green, red, and orange choices. Grains: 5 ounces - Make half your grains whole grains. Find whole grain foods by reading Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list. Protein: 5 ounces - Vary your protein routine. Mix up your protein foods to include seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; unsalted nuts and seeds; soy products; eggs; and lean meats and poultry. Dairy: 3 cups - Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy milk or yogurt (or lactose-free dairy or fortified soy version). Look for ways to include dairy or fortified soy alternatives at meals and snacks throughout the day.
Choose foods and beverages with less added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium (salt). Limit added sugars to <40 grams a day; Saturated fat to <18 grams a day; and Sodium to <2,300 milligrams a day. Be Active your way. Children 6-17 years old should move 60 minutes every day. Adults should be physically active at least 2.5 hours per week.
Page 2 of the MyPlate Plan was a daily record of what you did. This was laid out nicely with the five food groups on the left side, 2nd column was to write down the food choices made for each food group; 3rd column asked did you reach your targets (yes/no). And the 4th column, did you limit your sugars, fat, and sodium and were you active for the time frame given (yes/no).
This page also had a disclaimer. *This 1600-calorie pattern is only an estimate of your needs. Monitor your body weight and adjust your calories if needed.
This week, I am going to try this MyPlate Plan. I hope I make it past 6 weeks!!
I have exciting news to share with you. But first, I want to let you know there will not be a Free Community Meal on New Year’s Day. The next meal will be on January 17th. And we do have bingo at St Peter Roman Catholic Church on January 8th. Doors open at 1 pm. More info on both will be shared next week.
Food insecurity has been around worldwide forever. In 2014 WCHI worked towards alleviating food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay. In 2015, there was a Lehigh Valley wide food insecurity meeting held at Sacred Heart Hospital. Whitehall Mayor, Ed Hozza at the time, and I were invited with around 100 Lehigh Valley people attending. I became part of the LV Food Policy Council (LVFPC) and serve on the Food Access Work Group. I have worked ever since with Susan Dalandan and several other amazing people who want to help end food insecurity.
This info now comes from Susan Dalandan, Coordinator of LVFPC, and from Governor Wolf ‘s office through a press release from emails sent to me this week. I am sharing portions of the info since my article must remain short.
From Susan, “LVFPC has much to be proud of in our past seven years of work. Our task forces and work groups remain committed to working together. They continue to bring new partners to the table in addressing problems in the Lehigh Valley food system and continue to influence regional and state policy.
We are so excited about the final accomplishment of this year! Former Executive Director of Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, Dawn Plummer, and LVFPC Coordinator, Susan Dalandan, wrote the position paper for Governor Wolf and Secretary Redding on the creation of a state-wide food policy council. We are so happy that, after long fourth quarter negotiations with the Governor’s office and the legislative office of the Department of Agriculture, Governor Wolf announced the creation of a state food policy council. This will further the work of the Department of Agriculture and the state’s commitment to a strong food system in Pennsylvania.”
From Governor Wolf and the press release: In an action finalizing his legacy of support to improve access to food for all Pennsylvanians, Governor Tom Wolf today (December 15th) signed an executive order creating the Pennsylvania Food Policy Council.
“Food is a basic human right that has the power to change lives,” said Gov. Wolf. “This Food Policy Council will work for the people of Pennsylvania; to improve their everyday lives and our collective future. It is our responsibility and our duty to take hunger off the table.”
The Pennsylvania Food Policy Council will build on this progress through continued evaluation of the issues facing Pennsylvania’s food system and developing strategies to improve food security and nutrition while reducing food waste. The duties of the council – which will include a director along with the secretaries of the departments of Aging, Agriculture, Education, Environmental Protection, Health, Human Services, and Labor & Industry – will include: 1. Making recommendations to promote coordination, communication, and joint planning between agency programs and external partners in the private sector to support the food system. 2. Developing recommendations on improved partnerships to better reach those at the highest risk of hunger and expand food and nutrition delivery systems. 3. Developing recommendations to reduce food waste across Pennsylvania. 4. Developing and implementing strategies to expand the use of Pennsylvania agricultural products in public and private food assistance programs. And 5. Developing a Food Action Plan to be updated on a biennial basis and include a strategic plan to accomplish goals and measure progress.
From Shari, I am so thrilled that we now have a Pennsylvania Food Policy Council so we all can work together statewide and locally to alleviate food insecurity. This is great news. What a wonderful way to end 2022 and start 2023!!
Happy New Year!!
As we get closer to the end of 2022 and enjoy this holiday season, all our amazing volunteers and I wish to extend our appreciation to everyone who has given WCHI their time, talents, and treasures to help us feed so many people this year. It has been a very busy and great year for WCHI.
Just to give you data on the guests we have helped throughout the year (our numbers do change monthly), in January 2022 we served 230 households comprised of 366 adults, 364 children, and 110 seniors for a total of 840 people. We strive to provide food to make 5 meals per person, which totaled 4,200 meals. In November 2022, we served 243 households comprised of 408 adults, 320 children, and 185 seniors for a total of 913 people. WCHI provided food for 4,565 meals. December is still ongoing.
Please note that for the households who receive food, the number of items given is based on the total number of people living in the household. WCHI is a choice Pantry so our guests choose the foods that they will eat. Each household can select from canned fruit and vegetables; protein like canned tuna, chicken, salmon, beans & peanut butter; rice/pasta; ready to eat foods like Chef-Boyardee: cereal; grains; condiments; coffee; snacks; baby food; refrigerated food like milk, eggs, & cheese; frozen food; fresh produce; and personal hygiene products. Sometimes we have dog and cat food. All items are while they are available and while supplies last.
Unfortunately, food costs continue to rise and there are many supply issues. WCHI is so grateful for Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB)!! They provide us with approximately 90% of our food. As of 12/15, their pantry available inventory was dramatically reduced to 137 total food and non-food items. Most of the food is free to Food Pantries like ours. SHFB serves 200 Agencies in 6 counties. Of the 137 items available, 42 of these are “purchase” items, which are at a reduced cost than we can purchase from the grocery store. The number of available food items that we would order is sharply reduced from January 2022 and the purchase program has increased 31% of this week’s available inventory. Some items we will order, and others are of no interest to us for our guests. We are also a Healthy Pantry, so we like foods that are not sugary and salty, though we do provide some of these items occasionally.
Because of the rising food costs, current supply chain issues, and the limited supply of foods available now through Second Harvest, I am strongly requesting that individuals, businesses, and faith-based organizations to PLEASE host food drives for WCHI as soon as possible. Recently, Good Shepherd Catholic School, Northampton; Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Whitehall; Taylor Villas (a housing subdivision in Whitehall); Changes for Hair (a salon next to Charles Pizza), and Whitehall Twp (organized by Melanie Pries, Twp Human Recourses officer) did December food drives that provided WCHI with much needed food. This food was provided to our guests this week. And WCHI just received from Scouts BSA Order of the Arrow (Boy Scouts) 250 pounds of dog and cat food!! THANK YOU everyone with your donations!!
Food items WCHI needs: Canned fruit except applesauce; canned chicken, peanut butter; canned pasta (Chef Boyardee, ravioli, beefaroni), red kidney beans, rice, non-sweet cereal like Cheerios, Rice Krispies; soup varieties including Chunky soups (no vegetable or cream of mushroom/chicken needed), condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise. Also, if you know of a company that can donate free dog and cat food, please let me now asap.
WCHI also accepts monetary gifts of any size. WCHI needs to deposit your check by 12/31/22 to possibly be a 2022 tax deduction. WCHI is 501(c) (3) IRS approved nonprofit organization and your donation may be tax deductible. Please discuss with your financial advisor.
All Food and Monetary Donations are greatly appreciated and may be shipped, dropped, or mailed to Shari Noctor, 1080 Schadt Ave, Whitehall, PA 18052. Please leave your dropped food donations inside the foyer on the right side, Monday through Friday 8:30 AM- 5PM, Saturday 9AM-1PM & Sunday 10AM-1PM. The Whitehall-Coplay.
Thank you all for helping WCHI and have a great week!!