Fighting Hunger: Hunger Initiative to hold summer program meeting April 15
BY SHARI NOCTOR
Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative president
Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative will be holding a public meeting 6 p.m. April 15 in our pantry to discuss implementing WCHI’s children’s summer feeding program.
Our pantry is located in the school cafeteria at St. John the Baptist Church, 3024 S. Ruch St., Stiles. Face masks are required. We will be social distancing and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Anyone is welcome to attend.
Before the pandemic, WCHI offered a 10-week summer breakfast camp at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Whitehall and the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Coplay. This camp targeted food-insecure children and provided breakfast and a bagged lunch.
Many children rely on the free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches provided in the Whitehall-Coplay School District. As of March 2021, 55.6 percent of the WCSD students - 2,359 children - qualify for and receive free and reduced-rate meals. WCSD does not provide the meals over the summer.
WCHI wants to fill this 10-week gap by distributing food twice a week starting June 16. Through WCHI’s summer feeding program, we plan to distribute shelf-stable food and fresh produce at five or six sites throughout the Whitehall and Coplay communities where we know many food-insecure children reside.
Volunteers are needed, and we hope to have teams of four people working a site. Volunteers can select a day or several days. They are not required to help the whole summer unless they would like to. Clearances are required for this program. To sign up to volunteer, go to whitehallcoplayhungerinitiative.org/volunteer-signup.html.
To review WCHI requirements, go to whitehallcoplayhungerinitiative.org/volunteer-forms.html.
A prepackaged bag of food will be provided for each child, from toddler to age 18. Some baby food may be available.
A child, parent or caregiver would be allowed to pick up the food for the household. The food distribution guests will be registered by household in the same process as the WCHI food pantry.
Second Harvest provides many items we will use in our drop-and-go bags. They are not a grocery store, and the selection for this program is limited.
Food items we are requesting from the public include 12-pack teriyaki beef chow mein, 48-pack ramen chicken bricks, eight-pack Knorr Spanish rice, 24-pack diced peach cups, 24-pack mandarin orange cups, six-pack garden rotini, 45-pack Member’s Mark apple sauce, 40-pack Quaker fruit and cream hot cereal, 52-pack Quaker instant oatmeal flavor, 24-pack Jumex tropical punch, 24-pack Apple & Eve apple juice, 36-pack Nutri-Grain variety pack bars, 42-pack Famous Amos chocolate cookies and Lance peanut butter crackers.
These bigger packages are available in store and online at Sam’s Club. You can find smaller quantities in local grocery stores.
All monetary and food donations are appreciated and may be shipped to or dropped off at Re/Max Unlimited Real Estate, 1080 Schadt Ave., Whitehall, 18052.
Leave your donations inside the foyer on the right 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays. For monetary donations, write summer feeding program in the memo section.
We have specific food items for Snack Pack Pals, our children’s summer feeding program and our pantry. Public donations are all applied to the correct programs. Contact me with any questions.
Have a great week!