I was thinking about what I was going to write this month. Sometimes, it takes a few days to think of something meaningful.
I turned my National Wildlife Federation calendar that I received in the mail to February, and there was a quote from Jane Goodall: “The most important thing, as I am constantly saying, is to think about small ways in which we can make a difference — every day.”
This was a sign to me that this is what I am supposed to write about this month.
It has been four years since Leah Saliby, an eighth-grade English teacher, launched the Snack Pack Pals program in the Whitehall-Coplay School District. This program helps alleviate food insecurity for children attending the school district. This program originally began providing food for 50 students identified by district guidance counselors as being most food insecure at home. They received snack packs during the five long weekends of the school year: Thanksgiving, winter break, Presidents Day weekend, spring break and Memorial Day weekend.
I read a book that a client gave me while I was on vacation recently. The book is titled “Imagine Heaven” by John Burke. The book’s main theme is to take a hard look at your life and see what you have actually done with it. This is an internal reflection of what really is important to you individually. Is it your family, faith, work, awards and accomplishments, social status, helping others including volunteering? The book asks repeatedly, “If you died today (death can come at any age), what have you actually done with your life?”
We were very fortunate to have three separate breakfast camps open this year from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, from June 18 to Aug. 24. The program started when school finished and before school started once again. This was open and free to any resident of the Whitehall-Coplay School District in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The camps were hosted by St. John’s Lutheran Church, 835 Third St., Fullerton; Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 4331 Main St., Egypt; and Redeemed Christian Church of God, 5 N. Third St., Coplay.
We had three goals.
Please cut out this article and post at your workplaces, faith-based organizations, banks and post offices — but more importantly, give it to people you know who would help WIC recipients and seniors.
I am so grateful for the kindness and support received from so many faith-based organizations, residents and businesses that are helping make our second year of the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative’s free summer breakfast camp for Whitehall and Coplay school-age residents such a success! The kids are having a blast, and we hope more people will come out since we do so much more than provide a hot and cold breakfast.
These kids are having a great time with our themed weeks.
Many of us look at the sell-by date on food products in the store or in our home pantries and throw out foods that have passed these dates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for all food in the United States, has published food safety information about dates for consumers to understand. This is from its report.
Priscilla Rosado, manager for healthy aging and food access for United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, has been an integral part of our Whitehall Area Hunger Initiative for the last two years. She comes to our monthly public meetings, sits with me on Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council’s food access committee and has seven volunteers helping monthly at our free community meals, served the third Tuesday of every month.
In June, Whitehall Area Hunger Initiative offered the first-ever summer breakfast program for school-age children in Whitehall and Coplay. This is a free outreach program and was designed to alleviate childhood hunger over the summer — and, yes, we do have hunger issues here in Whitehall and Coplay.
I recently attended the 2017 Anti-Hunger Conference in Washington, D.C., which was presented by Feeding America (No Kid Hungry) and the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). More than 1,300 people attended, including food banks, faith-based groups, educators, USDA representatives, attorneys, Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA representatives, plus many more people who work to feed Americans daily. It was a real eye opener.
FRAC was very strong on the upcoming farm bill legislation. The following is taken from a handout given at the conference on SNAP, one of the programs cited to be cut.