LCHM Summer 2018 - 11

L C M E D S O C .O R G

to every kid in our community," said Priscilla
Rosado, Assistant Director of Food Access for
United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. "To
find a site, kids or parents can simply call 2-1-1,
our free health and human services helpline,
and ask for the nearby summer meal sites."

"There are many kids whose families run out
of food. These sites will help them to stretch
their food budgets. Kids who come to these
sites will get well-balanced meals, with milk,
protein and fruit," said Amato.

weekday, including holidays. "Kids are hungry
on Fourth of July, too," added Noctor.

Sites are open to all children and teenagers
18 years old and younger.

The new sites include Shepherd of the Hills
Lutheran Church on Main Street in Egypt and
Redeemed Christian Church of God in Coplay.
Each site is open from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. every

To find free summer food for kids near
you, call 2-1-1 and ask for the closest summer
meal programs.

At these sites, kids receive cold meals every
day and hot meals two days a week. They take
home a bag lunch daily and a bag of food on
According to Dalandan, hunger exists well weekends. Each day, organizers offer a craft or
According to United Way, one in ten people beyond our urban cores. For example, she said, special activity and require each child spends
in the Lehigh Valley are food insecure, and 25 percent of students in Parkland School 15 minutes reading.
one in four of them are children.
District quality for free-and reduced-cost
lunch. In Whitehall School District, a survey
"Summer learning and summer meals go
"That means they don't have consistent access revealed that 16 percent of sixth-grade students hand-in-hand," shared Beth Tomlinson, Dito enough food for an active, healthy life," worried about their next meal.
rector of Education for United Way of the
said Rosado. "Our goal with our partners is
Greater Lehigh Valley. "On average, low-into cut that number in half by 2022. Summer
"When I heard 16 percent, I couldn't believe come children start school 12 to 14 months
meal programs are a key strategy to help us it. I never thought we had a hunger problem. behind their peers. These students can lose
achieve that goal."
People think it's just the big cities. They don't two to three months of math and reading
realize that it's in our own back yard," said Shari skills during summer months. It's called the
Across the Lehigh Valley, Dalandan and Noctor, President of the Whitehall-Coplay 'summer slide' and can cause them to fall two
Rosado have worked with partners to launch Hunger Initiative.
to three whole grade levels behind their peers
eight to ten new summer meal programs after
by the end of 5th grade if they are not engaged
the school year ends in June. They include
Since learning about the problem in 2014, in summer learning opportunities."
a new site at the Bethlehem Public Library, Noctor set on a mission to make sure kids had
two new sites in Easton and five new sites in access to food throughout the summer. In
Tomlinson said United Way will work with
Allentown, including Allentown Public Library, 2017, she and dozens of volunteers launched summer meal providers to incorporate fun
Alliance Hall and Overlook Park.
a summer breakfast program at St. John's learning activities into their programs.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fullerton. "We
"These new locations in Allentown are all averaged about 30 kids a day. That's not a lot,
"When kids miss summer meals, they're
open sites," said Tina Amato, Nutrition and considering there are about 2,500 kids on free more likely to experience the 'summer slide.'
Physical Activity Manager for the Allentown and reduced lunch and breakfast. We hope to It's great to see that we're all working towards
Health Bureau. "That means kids don't have increase that significantly with two new sites that same goal to give kids a positive summer
to register to be a part of a program. They this year. Last year, we had kids walking from experience and to make sure the Lehigh Valley
can walk right in during meal time and get a miles away across major roadways. These new is a healthy, vibrant, and environmentally stable
healthy, nutritious meal - no questions asked." sites should really help," said Noctor.
community," said Dalandan.

SUMMER 2018 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 11


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LCHM Summer 2018

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