August 9, 2022

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Free For All Food

Allentown and Bethlehem school food pantries serve families

As the price of food rises at the fastest price in 40 years, and the charge of gas hits history highs, some households in the Lehigh Valley are struggling to make finishes meet up with.

That is why neighborhood educational facilities in Bethlehem and Allentown have stepped in to help family members and community associates battling with food insecurity, this means they do not have dependable obtain to adequate foodstuff for a wholesome existence.

Fountain Hill Elementary School in Bethlehem Area University District will crack ground in July to make a food pantry dependent in element on the district’s accomplishment at Marvine Elementary School, which has experienced a university-dependent pantry open up to the local community for about three a long time. Meanwhile in Allentown, Hays Elementary Faculty opened the district’s 3rd school-dependent pantry in March.

“I think as a group school, you generally consider about wrapping your arms all-around the neighborhood, and this is just likely to be an additional stage of how we’re able to do that,” stated Courtney Wertman-Stambaugh, principal at Fountain Hill.

Group colleges offer companies to satisfy the desires of their neighborhood associates outdoors the realm of lecturers. This can include things like foodstuff pantries, as effectively as personal computer access, child treatment and garments distribution.

Jacquelin Antongiorgi, 31, of Bethlehem just lately attended a food items distribution day at Fountain Hill Elementary, wherever her daughter just finished university. She reported it can be hard paying the costs as a solitary mother, and she thinks the new pantry will be beneficial for other one-parent households in the community.

“It’s just starting to be so tricky for family members,” she mentioned. “I sense like it would be quite valuable for meals pantries to assist out with the group.”

In the Lehigh Valley, 1 in 10 folks and 1 in 6 kids practical experience foods insecurity. Paige Hoffman, community school coordinator at Fountain Hill, stated she has also noticed foods insecurity improve in the space encompassing the elementary faculty in latest several years.

This is because of to the hardships of the pandemic, she reported, but also because of the closure of nearby grocery suppliers Ahart’s Marketplace and Bottom Dollar.

“We had been actually fearful when that happened about our households accessing foods,” Hoffman stated. “Many of our family members really don’t have transportation, or it is not effortless for them to get out, so we’re hopeful about possessing this pantry.”

Fountain Hill Elementary College has teamed up with Lehigh College and the Cathedral Church of the Nativity to form the Fountain Hill Neighborhood Grocery Partnership, a nonprofit focused to fundraising for the upcoming pantry.

So much the nonprofit has lifted about 75% of its almost $200,000 target to pay back for the building of the pantry — a home extra to the university — as perfectly as for a refrigerator, freezer and shelving for the area. The cash will also go toward the price of the pantry’s very first calendar year of functions. Individuals fascinated in donating can ship revenue on Venmo to @FeedingFountainHill.

Food stuff will be provided by Second Harvest Food Financial institution. The pantry will to begin with be available for Fountain Hill family members to use when it opens in the drop, but in future many years, as the pantry grows, the area will be open up to any community associates who will need foodstuff.

The pantry will also at some point transfer from ready baggage to a selection model, meaning people today can choose products like they would at a grocery retail outlet. Hoffman claimed these goals had been impressed by the accomplishment of Marvine Elementary.

Cesar Cordova, the community university coordinator at Marvine, claimed he has labored to create rely on with families, so they really feel snug using what they require from the school’s pantry.

“When they come in this article, they say how costly every thing is at the grocery shop,” he stated. “We can support you to get some weight from everything you are getting, so it’s possible you can use that dollars for anything else.”

Marvine’s pantry serves about 130 households every single 7 days. And compared with some university pantries, the foods is offered for everyone who demands it. People do not have to have a kid at Marvine or stay close by. The pantry serves about 50 senior citizens just about every month.

“Anybody can come,” Cordova reported. “We’re in no way going to say no to anyone who’s wanting for food stuff.”

In Allentown, the new pantry at Hays Elementary is also open to anyone who requires aid, with a concentrate on Lehigh County people. Households and group customers can order on the internet and decide on up their food items after a thirty day period. The pantry has presently served 500 people due to the fact it opened in March, with the capability to provide up to 35 people for each working day.

Organizers explained the pantry was established in the Guarantee Meals & Wellness Middle, which is hooked up to the elementary school, right after a community study showed people necessary assist finding foodstuff.

With industrial-sized freezers and refrigerators, the pantry can present refreshing deliver and meat, along with nonperishable things, like rice and beans.

Jeani Garcia, plan manager for reentry and violence avoidance at Assure Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, claimed report large costs have produced it difficult for people to stretch their cash, even with governing administration guidance through courses like the Supplemental Nourishment Support System.

In accordance to the Customer Rate Index, the cost of meat and eggs has amplified 14.2% in the past calendar year, and fruits and veggies has amplified by 8.2%.

“Food insecurity is surely increasing,” she mentioned. “The neighborhood is speaking about their SNAP gains … for the reason that of the foods [prices] raising, it’s not getting them by the thirty day period.”

More generally, citizens are acquiring by themselves turning to the pantry at Hays or other food banks, she explained.

Naaman Schlegel, principal of Hays, said the pantry has already aided the school’s families and will allow Hays to fulfill its function as a neighborhood college.

“If a kid is coming to school hungry, they are not likely to be ready to discover,” he explained. “The foods pantry, in addition to our foods products and services, is effective extremely really hard to guarantee that we can give food to our people to make positive that the simple have to have of not heading hungry is satisfied.”

Men and women on the lookout to place an get at the Hays pantry can go to www.orderahead.org, and enter 18102 as the ZIP code. People who do not have entry to the world wide web can use pcs at the Assure Food stuff & Wellness Centre for their orders.

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As for Fountain Hill, organizers are fired up to replicate the operate that Hays and Marvine are now executing once the pantry there opens in the fall.

“Everyone demands meals in get to have vitality and be the most effective versions of themselves just about every day,” Wertman-Stambaugh stated. “So [by] bridging that gap [for] family members who may not have enough foodstuff to be in a position to do that, or learners who occur to faculty and are hungry, we’ll be capable to ideally get rid of that barrier for them by giving this.”

Marvine Elementary School: To master pantry summer time hours and agenda an appointment, simply call Cesar Cordova at 610-865-0012, ext. 16815

Broughal Middle University: For crisis food assistance, contact Alicia Creazzo at 610-866-5041, ext. 40808

Brigadier Common Anna Mae Hays Elementary College: To agenda a foods order, go to www.orderahead.org. Pantry several hours are 4-7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 9 a.m. to noon the very first and third Saturday of each and every thirty day period.

Raub Middle College: To plan an appointment, phone the principal office at 484-765-5301. Pantry hrs are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday. The pantry is only open to faculty family members. A cellular pantry is also at Raub 4-6 p.m. the last Wednesday of every thirty day period.

Summer months Meals Method at St. Luke’s Medical center-Sacred Heart: Starting June 20, young children can come midday to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday to the second floor cafeteria at 421 W. Chew St. for lunch. Each individual Thursday, deliver will be obtainable for households, and on Friday, family members can get baggage of nonperishable merchandise.