One in 10 Lehigh Valley residents face food insecurity. One in six are kids.
Food insecurity among families with children and communities of color has increased since the pandemic.
In the Lehigh Valley,10.7% of residents are food insecure (pre-COVID 7.8%). The percentage of children who are food insecure is 15% (pre-COVID was 13%) (Feeding America, 2021 report).
Food pantries help food insecure families and individuals access healthy food, reduce hunger and help supplement income levels. In a 2021 survey on the effects of COVID on Pennsylvanians, 44% of respondents with households living paycheck-to-paycheck report utilizing food banks or pantries.
Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice
When the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the Greater Lehigh Valley, the adverse health effects became immediately apparent. Many found themselves unexpectedly out of work and facing serious choices with limited resources. Would they pay the electric bill or buy diapers? Could they afford the rent and food for their families?
As a result of the pandemic, emergency food pantries supported by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley served 88% more people. Although that initial spike has plateaued, recent research from United Way of Pennsylvania shows that feeding their families remains a top concern among residents living paycheck to paycheck.
With new partnerships with Air Products Foundation and U.S. Hunger, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley is more committed than ever to addressing the issue of food access in the Greater Lehigh Valley.
United Way and Air Products Foundation launched the Air Products Fresh Food Promise as a direct response to increased demand for emergency food programs. For every new donor to United Way, Air Products Foundation made an additional contribution in support of our food access work to provide fresh, healthy food for local families.
In collaboration with the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council and U.S. Hunger, UWGVL launched the region’s newest emergency food solution program: Full Cart Virtual Food Pantry. This innovative program offers families in Community Schools free, healthy food delivered directly to their homes. Full Cart allowed us to serve and ship 93 boxes of shelf-stable food directly to the front door of approximately 342 individuals in need—that’s equivalent to more than 11,625 servings of food.
UWGLV also strengthened its partnership with Kellyn Foundation to serve even more of our community with the goal to “Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice.”
“United Way has been such a critical partner for Kellyn Foundation for many, many years. They encourage us and support us with educating the children and especially reaching our senior population,” said Dr. Meagan Grega, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Kellyn Foundation.
“Food insecurity is a major challenge facing our community, and when we invest in United Way, all of us become part of the solution.”
Laurie Gostley Hackett
Air Products Director of Community Relations and Philanthropy