LCHM Winter18 - 19
L C M E D S O C .O R G
Recognizing this need - and acknowledging
that access to nutritious food plays a critical role
in a student's success and a family's well-being
- United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley set
a bold goal: to reduce the number of people
in our community who are food insecure by
50 percent by 2022. According to Alliance
for a Healthier Generation, "Kids who eat
healthier and move more perform better in
school. Studies show that healthy kids get better
grades, attend school more often and behave
better in class. We now know that making time
for physical activity and nutrition in school is
not a break from academics; it's an investment
in higher academic performance."
In pursuit of this goal - and with the backing
of generous donors - United Way helped
form and mobilize the Lehigh Valley Food
Policy Council, a regional effort to reduce food
insecurity and strengthen the local food economy.
A collaboration of 17 founding partners, the
impact effort pledges to reduce food insecurity
locally by focusing on key economic issues and
barriers to successful food access for all.
While kids are in school, providing access to to have consistent access to fresh, healthy food,"
nutritious meals is simplified. To address the Rittle said. "Meals on Wheels offers many the
need during the summer months, the Council ability to stay independent in their homes.
established Summer Food Sites throughout Providing nutritious alternatives is an important
Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. The Council part of senior's well-being.
then collaborated with area libraries, the Summer Learning Consortium, Cops N Kids, and
"Supporting United Way means supporting
many other partners to encourage families to community-wide change," Rittle said. "We
"The Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council is call community hotline 2-1-1 to locate their turn your dollars into fuel to drive regional
made up of people and organizations across nearest Summer Food Site.
efforts like this and to improve lives throughthe Valley," said Marc Rittle, Vice President of
out the Lehigh Valley."
Impact at United Way of the Greater Lehigh
"Summer is the hungriest time of the year for
Valley. "It includes everyone from farmers who many school-age children," Rittle said. "Not only
Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council is a
grow the food to grocers who distribute the food." are children who are hungry nearly three times collaboration of 17 founding partners that
more likely to suffer from poor health, but it include: Buy Fresh Buy Local - Greater
With backbone support from the Community impairs their ability to sustain their learning and Lehigh Valley, CADCA - Jordan Heights
Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, the growth. United Way is committed to ensuring Neighborhood Revitalization, Community
Council has seen great gains in the past few healthy food access 365 days a year."
Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, Layears. The Council established the Lehigh Valley
fayette College, Lehigh County Community
Gleaning Network and rescued, or "gleaned,"
The Council also worked to incorporate Revitalization and Development, Lehigh
13,000 pounds of food from farms last year and nutritious, locally-sourced food into the Meals on Valley Health Network, New Bethany Minredistributed it into the community.
Wheels program. Meals on Wheels Northamp- istries, Northampton County Department
ton County preps the meals for both Lehigh of Economic Development, Nurture Nature
"This food would have been thrown away, and Northampton County programs and has a Center, Penn State Extension, RenewLV,
but instead it went to the people who needed partnership with local farms. Last year, 567,000 Rodale Institute, Second Harvest Food Bank
it most," said Rittle. "This was only possible nutritious and medically-tailored meals were of Lehigh Valley & Northeast Pennsylvania,
with the support and buy-in of everyone in distributed to homebound seniors.
Seven Generations Charter School, Sodexo, St.
the supply chain."
Luke's University Health Network, and United
"Our aging population is one of our most Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
vulnerable groups, so it's important for them
For more information on how United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley is impacting effective change in the region, visit:
WINTER 2018 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 19