I am pleased to provide statistics on our Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative (WCHI) Food Pantry attendance for the period July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023. All Food Pantries, that work with government supplied food, are on this fiscal year.
WCHI provided 48 food distributions. We report unduplicated data, which is counting households and guests only one time - no matter how many times they attend our Pantry. WCHI has accurate data for people registered for the entire year. Our unduplicated numbers for this fiscal year are: 485 households; 1,812 guests consisting of 688 children (ages 0-17); 843 adults (ages 18-59) and 281 seniors (ages 60+).
Through our computer software, WCHI also has counted every guest that have attended at least two or more times during the year. These numbers are incredible and WCHI is proud to be helping so many residents - 10,844 people consisting of 3,910 children, 4,792 adults, and 2,142 seniors.
WCHI sincerely thanks Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB), the Lehigh County Commissioners for grants WCHI has requested and obtained, and the generous public who consistently provides us with both food and monetary donations. SHFB is not a grocery store, and their food items are extremely limited. Without all these partners working with WCHI, we could never feed as many people as we do. Thank you everyone!!!
Our Pantry is open the 2nd and 3rd Thursday of the month 9:30-1 pm and 4:30-7 pm by appointment only. We close the doors promptly at 1 and 7pm. Our reservations are usually 95% reserved. Guests sometimes forget their appointments, get sick, or do not have transportation that day. New guests are always welcome, but appointments are strongly recommended.
WCHI works indirectly with USDA through the PA Dept of Agriculture and though SHFB to provide food to our income eligible guests. “The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. Through TEFAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality USDA Foods, and makes those foods available to state distributing agencies.
The amount of food each state receives out of the total amount of food provided is based on the number of unemployed persons and the number of people with incomes below the poverty level in the state. States provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn distribute the food to local organizations, such as soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public.
These funds must, in part, be passed down to local agencies. TEFAP is administered at the federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the USDA. Updated: 01/06/2020” https://www.fns.usda.gov/tefap/tefap-fact-sheet
I wanted to explain briefly how we qualify each of our Pantry guests. Since we are now in July, new PA Dept of Agriculture “Self-Declaration of Need” forms must be updated for each household receiving food from our Pantry. Typically, this form is reviewed and signed once a year. “The Emergency Food Assistance Program is operated in accordance with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Eligibility is based upon the income guidelines listed below. The recipient circles the entire line that applies to their Household Size, understanding they must be at, or below, the income level indicated to be eligible for program benefits.”
I am happy that the household income limits were increased for the new fiscal year. The Total Household Income is based on 185% of Poverty. This month our guests will verify their income as mentioned on the forms (no proof of income is required at the time of registration). The guest then signs digitally, which is applied to their registration form in our computer software program. The process goes seamlessly but will add approximately 5 minutes per guest at registration.
The household income is based on the day the guest comes into the Pantry. If their income goes up and they no longer qualify, the guest needs to let us know and WCHI cannot give them food. On the other hand, if a person has had a decrease in income and now, they qualify, they need to contact us to make an appointment to become a new guest. We have this many times with seasonal workers.
WCHI is here to help food insecure Whitehall and Coplay residents. Please call us at 484-225-0358 with any questions.