What a fabulous day WCHI had on Thursday at our Food Pantry distribution!! The weather was perfect (not as hot and humid as in August). Since we opened in January, our Pantry distribution has been growing steadily. But on September 9th, we had a huge increase in attendance. We served 146 households (121 Whitehall and 25 Coplay) comprised of 480 people; 194 children, 211 adults, and 75 seniors (age 60+)!! We also registered 44 new households. The car attendance lines were very long and non-stop.
This was a huge increase from August’s numbers when we served 121 households (95 Whitehall and 26 Coplay) comprised of 411 people; 154 children, 179 adults, and 78 seniors (age 60+). In August, we registered 16 new households.
Why did these numbers increase? There are a few reasons, P-EBT monies are coming to an end; Covid unemployment ended; people are still unemployed or just lost their jobs; I had a two page WCHI article in the Whitehall Township newsletter which recently came out and many guests brought it with them; Coplay Boro always has us on their scrolling billboard at Giant; many residents are reading my weekly newspaper article and email blasts; neighbors and family members are both telling guests about us, and some residents are physically bringing people or picking up food for those who do not have transportation. A huge increase also came from the Whitehall-Coplay School District who sent robo call, texts, and emails out to the households who qualify for free and reduced rate breakfast and lunch.
This was a very busy day for us and for our guests, who waited patiently in very long lines in the morning. People were already lined up at 10 am. We open at 11 am and people waited almost 90 minutes before they arrived at our registration area. People were very gracious and some cried and were so thankful that we could provide food to them.
Please do not be fooled when you see newer or expensive cars in our line. Some of these people are picking up food for others who are working or do not have transportation. Others have recently been laid off from work. Many guests have cars that are not in good condition and gas prices are very high for them to be waiting as long as they did. But all were very kind and grateful for the food. Yes, we do have food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay. I have been in several of our guest’s homes and have seen what little food they have in their cupboards and refrigerators.
As always, I like to recognize and thank our selfless volunteers, who worked non-stop at both distributions 11am-1pm and 5:30-7:00pm. This truly is a huge operation as we need to set up tables with different bagged items at 7-8 stations, which includes fresh produce, different bags of dried food i.e. cereal, rice, pasta, sauce, canned vegetables and fruit, frozen and refrigerated food, toiletries, we did have coffee this time, baby food and dog & cat food. All the food is pre-bagged and needs to be transported by shopping carts from our Pantry to the parking lot. We planned for a huge turnout, but this was slightly more than anticipated. We ran out of fresh produce at 6 pm and by 6:15 had to put more food bags together. Every guest did leave with food.
WCHI is always so grateful for our community’s personal words of kindness for what we are doing and for all your food and monetary donations. We are a community who cares about each other. And obviously this shows. Thank you everyone!!