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!!