Catasauqua Press

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Fighting Hunger: Meeting set to discuss vision

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 by Shari Noctor Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative president in Opinion

Hunger faces many residents, including children, working people and seniors, every day in the Lehigh Valley. One in eight children is food insecure.

The American Community Survey for 2017 (last one issued) from the census shows Whitehall Township has a 14.3-percent resident poverty level and Coplay Borough has a 7.9-percent level. Lehigh County was at 13.3 percent, and the national average was 13.1 percent.

I, the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative president, will be holding a public meeting to discuss a new model to help with food insecurity 4 p.m. Feb. 6 at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3355 MacArthur Road, Whitehall. The snow date is Feb. 13 — same time and place.

I have had this vision for a year and have done research to implement what I want to do. Please come and hear what I have to say. I need your help to improve my ideas and bring them to the public — one area of town at a time. This vision has become reality already for 2020, and I need your help.

My vision comes from the Roseto story in the 1950s where everyone in the small Slate Belt town, near Pen Argyl, came together and helped each other. The residents were living longer and were much healthier than other people studied in the country at that time. The research shows it was the sense of community that made this happen. Everyone looked out for their families, neighbors and friends.

Please come to help me help others and build up our community one section at a time.

I am working closely with Second Harvest Food Bank to provide additional resources, including boxes for low-income seniors.

I am working with Penn State’s Nutrition Links program to bring in a six-week program to help residents learn how to eat healthier at home on a limited budget.

I am even looking at bringing in summer breakfast or lunch to a low-income apartment building to serve children over the summer when school is out. This summer program is in addition to the free kids’ summer breakfast camp that we offer at two locations — one in Whitehall and one in Coplay.

For more information on these two camps, contact Janice Stavrou at 610-767-7014.

Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative has been working very hard to alleviate food insecurity for the residents of Whitehall and Coplay.

Besides the breakfast camps, we provide two free community meals every month. These are held 4-6:30 p.m. on the first Sunday and the third Tuesday at changing locations. A hot meal is guaranteed for the first 100 guests.

For more information, contact Judy at 610-767-5061.

Our Snack Pack Pal program serves 210 children monthly in the Whitehall-Coplay School District by providing a weekend bag of food once a month to alleviate hunger when school is not open.

Almost 54 percent of WCSD’s student population receives free and reduced-rate breakfast and lunch. For some children, this is the only nutritious meal they receive. There are many more children who can benefit from this program.

For more information, contact Leah Saliby at salibyl@whitehallcoplay.org.

Our Hunger Initiative partners with many local residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations to help the residents we serve. Our monthly meetings are 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month, also at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Please attend these meetings to learn more about what we do.