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Second Harvest Newsletters

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  Winter 2015
Guided By Our Strategic Plan
By Ann McManus
     Anyone who has driven along South Saint Elmo Street in the west end of Allentown recently couldn’t help but notice the large “For Sale” sign at the entrance to the Second Harvest Food Bank warehouse. Yes, our building is indeed “For Sale,” and we have some exciting news – we are moving! The Community Action Committee of Lehigh Valley, Second Harvest’s parent organization, recently purchased a warehouse located at 6969 Silver Crest Road, East Allen Township, Northampton County, for use by the Food Bank.
     The Second Harvest Strategic Plan, adopted in 2012, calls for a larger, more centrally located facility. Our service area, as defined by Feeding America, encompasses the counties of Lehigh, where our current facility is located, Carbon, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, 

We are excited to announce that Second Harvest will be moving to a new, bigger facility in East Allen Township!.
and Wayne.  Twice a month, our trucks travel to Pike and Wayne counties more than one hundred miles from our facility. This distance makes it difficult for our member agencies located there to travel to our warehouse for more frequent food orders and access to fresh, perishable foods. It also makes for a long day for our drivers.
     Our current facility, located at 2045 Harvest Way in Allentown, is approximately 18,000 square feet, a size that seemed palatial in 1993 when we first moved in. Since then, we have added new programs (SUNShine boxes, Backpack Buddies, and Cooking Matters) and have gained access to more food, including fresh options like produce, dairy, and frozen meat. We have realized that 18,000 square feet isn’t nearly as big as we thought and, frankly, we are bulging at the seams.
     To accommodate our growing operations, we have added a second walk-in cooler to our warehouse. We lease approximately 5,000 square feet off-site for our volunteer pack events for Backpack Buddies and SUNShine Boxes. We also lease an additional 1,500 square feet at another location for storage of cereal, which comes in large boxes that take up a lot of space. Finally, we occasionally have to rent additional cold storage space when we have the opportunity to accept entire truckloads of USDA frozen meat.
     Unfortunately, these additions still aren’t enough. In the past month, Second Harvest has been forced to turn down offerings of nearly 19,000 pounds of short-dated dairy, including cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt, due to lack of room. We can’t add any more cold storage space to our current facility without giving up space that is presently being used for dry, non-perishable storage. Most of our member agencies distribute lots of dry product and much smaller amounts of perishables. Giving up dry storage space at the Harvest Way facility is not an option. Simply put, we need more space.
     More space means we would consolidate our operations and eliminate rental fees, as well as the time and transportation costs associated with traveling between the various locations. More space will allow for greater efficiency as we will have room for staging areas, which means less product movement.
     Last fall, we were offered the pro bono services of Enterprise Systems Partners, Inc. (ESPI), whose staff spent time watching and analyzing the work we do. Their assessment confirmed what we were realizing - we need more space. In fact, ESPI’s recommendation was for at least double the warehouse space we currently have. They also recommended a massive (4-fold) increase in our cold storage capacity.
     Armed with that information, we started looking for a warehouse to renovate or available land to build on to meet our present and future needs. Our current building is owned by CACLV so there was no immediate deadline to locate a new warehouse and move.
     The new facility is located right off Route 512, making it accessible to many of the region’s major roadways and placing it in amore central part of our service area. It will provide us with more than double the square footage we currently occupy. There is space for a large freezer and cooler, a comfortable area for our volunteers to work, more than adequate amounts of office space for staff, nine dock doors for shipping and receiving, including a drive in ramp for vehicle loading in inclement weather, and plenty of area to help our member agencies when they come to pick up their food orders.
     We are extremely excited for this opportunity and look forward to sharing everything with you, our incredible network of supporters. A special edition of the Second Harvest newsletter is being prepared that lays out all of the enhancements to our services that the new facility will allow us to add. We encourage you to watch for the special edition and be a part of making it happen.


Pledge to Grow a Row
     Do you want to use your green thumb to increase fresh food access in your community? Help us increase the amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables that are distributed through our network of 200 member agencies by planting an extra row in your garden this year and donate the produce to a food pantry in your community. Whether you donate a handful of fresh herbs, a bag of tomatoes, or a few boxes of green beans, your contribution will help bridge the gap of access to fresh
fruits and vegetables in your community. Please contact Carrie Spero, Nutrition Educator, at Second Harvest at cspero@caclv.org or 610-434-0875 if you are interested in pledging to plant a row in your garden for the hungry and we will provide you with information for a pantry near you.


Donor Spotlight: Restaurant Depot Comes to the Lehigh Valley!
     Second Harvest is pleased to welcome Restaurant Depot, a cash and carry food wholesaler, to the Lehigh Valley and to our network of food donors. The new store, which opened in Bethlehem this past December, brought with it at least 40 full-time jobs for residents in the area. Restaurant Depot and its new employees are committed to helping those in need in the Lehigh Valley. They plan to make regular donations of fresh, perishable foods including produce, meat, dairy, and eggs.
    The donations are being picked up twice a week by volunteers at Northeast Ministries, one of Second Harvest’s member agencies. Since the store’s opening day, Restaurant Depot Bethlehem has donated nearly 7,000 pounds of food! “The donations from Restaurant Depot

    Volunteers at Northeast Ministries set up their "market" with the fresh fruits and vegetables they received in one of their pickups from Restaurant Depot. The distribution was well attended and provided fresh foods to 36 local families in need.
have really added wonderful fresh vegetable and dairy options to our food bank,” said Ann Gibson, Executive Director at Northeast Ministries.
     Restaurant Depot’s CEO, Stanley Fleishman, says they are looking forward to an ongoing partnership. “There are many activities that remind us how lucky we are, but eating regularly should be the biggest one! We want to work with people who want to do something for those who are hungry,” he says.
     Restaurant Depot Bethlehem’s branch manager, Pat Corson, couldn’t agree more. “Second 
Harvest’s mission is to feed hungry people and work to solve hunger issues in our community. We are proud to be a part of it!” 
     Welcome Restaurant Depot and thanks for joining us in the fight to end hunger!


Second Harvest is 2014 Phillies Charities, Inc. Grant Recipient
     Each year, Phillies Charities, Inc. raises money to award grants of $10,000 each to charitable organizations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, as well as near the Phillies spring training and minor league affiliates. In 2014, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies Triple-A Affiliate, nominated Second Harvest Food Bank, and we are proud to have been chosen to receive one of the grants.
     In December, we were invited to attend the Phillies Charities Holiday Party at Citizen’s Bank Park to accept the grant. We were honored to join the representatives of several other wonderful organizations working to help those in need.

Second Harvest sincerely thanks the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs for nominating us for a 2014 grant from Phillies Charities, Inc.
    Locally, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs have demonstrated their commitment to end hunger through their support of Second Harvest with food drives, Empty Bowls sponsorship and silent auction donations, and volunteerism. “The IronPigs strive to build strong relationships in the community and Second Harvest is an organization that we enjoy partnering with. We recognize that many other local nonprofits benefit from the programs that Second Harvest implements and we are so appreciative of your work throughout the Lehigh Valley Community and it has been a pleasure sending our players out to your organization to lend a helping hand and help with the Toyota Tundra Food Drive” said Dana DeFilippo, IronPigs Director of Community Relations.
     Thank you Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Phillies Charities, Inc!


Advocacy Corner: Our Legislative Agenda for the Coming Year
     As the General Assembly in Harrisburg and the US Congress in Washington begin their new legislative sessions, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV) have laid out a legislative agenda for the coming year.
     In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the primary legislative concern for the Food Bank is the budget line for the State Food Purchase Program, which provides funding for the purchase of food for our emergency food network. We are
advocating, along with the Food Banks across the state, for a new funding level of $21 million, an increase of almost $4 million.
    On an average day, only 45 low-income children participate in school breakfast for every 100 low-income children who participate in school lunch. Pennsylvania should be leveraging all of the federal dollars possible to fight hunger in our children’s lives.
    Pennsylvania's asset test for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps) prevents low-income people with modest resources from receiving food assistance and discourages saving; we advocate for an end to the asset test. In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services should commit to operational improvements to enhance its effectiveness.
    At the federal level, the reauthorization of the Childhood Nutrition Act is critical. This legislation provides for the major food programs in the schools (school lunch and school breakfast), the Summer Food Service Program, and the Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Food Program (WIC). In addition, we urge Congress to provide the full authorized level of $100 million for TEFAP Storage and Distribution funding in Fiscal Year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations to help Food Banks and emergency feeding agencies with the rising costs of storing, transporting, and distributing foods to those in need.
    In addition to the food-related activities, Second Harvest and CACLV are keeping track of other legislation at both the state and federal levels by being active in Raise the Wage PA, a statewide coalition working toward an increase in the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, and Better Choices, which focuses on the state budget and has recently proposed a 16-point Tax Fairness Campaign.
    Our advocacy agenda is a full one. We are looking forward to working with many concerned citizens toward the accomplishment of our objectives.


What's Happening at Second Harvest?

Second Harvest to Host 2nd Annual Hunger Action Workshops for Member Agencies:
     We are pleased to host our educational Hunger Action Workshops for our member agencies for the second year in a row. These workshops provide an opportunity for our member agencies to come together in a central location to meet and learn from each other best practices, tips and tricks, and to hear updates from Second Harvest. This year’s workshops include a keynote address from Sheila Christopher, Executive Director of Hunger-Free PA, as well as breakout sessions on advocacy, marketing, fresh food access, civil rights, and food safety training. The workshops will be held on March 18th at the First Presbyterian Church in Allentown and on March 24th at Zion UCC in Lehighton. We look forward to two days of learning and networking with our member agencies.

Sheila Christopher, Executive Director of Hunger-Free PA, will provide the keynote address at this year's Hunger Action Workshops for Second Harvest member agencies.

Fourth Annual Lehigh Valley Alumni Clubs Food Drive Challenge:

If you are a member of a college alumni club in the Lehigh Valley, join us for our fourth annual Lehigh Valley Alumni Clubs Food Drive Challenge.
     The Purdue University Alumni Club of Lehigh Valley is once again challenging members of college alumni clubs across the Lehigh Valley to a food drive competition to see which club members can rally their school spirit and collect the most donations for Second Harvest. In March and April, area alumni club members will collect donations, food and monetary, and deliver them to Second Harvest. Club members can contribute through group events, like sports viewing parties, or on an individual basis. Donation totals are tracked on Second Harvest’s website and, at the end of the two month period, the club whose members contribute the most donations is named the winner at a friendly happy hour gathering organized by the Purdue Club. Last year, nearly 17,000 pounds of food were donated to help those in need.

'Remember the Famine' Food Drive at Allentown St. Patrick's Day Parade:
     The Allentown St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee is once again organizing a food drive to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. The food drive officially kicked off at the annual Parade fundraiser on February 15th. Donations will be collected at the Pub Crawl, the Coronation Celebration, the Irish Cultural Community Day, and finally the actual parade on March 22nd. “We have always wanted to give back to the community that generously gives to us monetarily to fund our parade. This is the fourth year for having a food drive and we are happy to fill Second Harvest’s shelves for the Easter holiday,” said Phil Ferguson, Director of Parade Operations. All spectators are asked to bring a non-perishable food item; several local businesses as well as the Minsi Trails Council will be on hand to collect your donations. Also watch for the Second Harvest Food Bank truck which will be participating in the parade again this year.

The Allentown St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee will again be collecting donations at this year's parade on March 22nd. Spectators are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for Second Harvest.

Parkland School District Food Drive:

Parkland School District will hold its 9th annual food drive this March to benefit Second Harvest.
     Students at the Parkland School District will be collecting food in their classrooms this March to donate to Second Harvest. At the end of the drive, student representatives will help pack all the food into boxes and onto pallets for delivery to the Food Bank, where they will get to see our warehouse operation. The school district has been holding this food drive for the last several years and has collected more than 100,000 pounds of food for Second Harvest.

National Association of Letter Carriers' Food Drive:
     Mark your calendars for this year’s Letter Carriers’ Food Drive on May 9th. Leave your non-perishable food donations in a clearly marked bag by your mailbox before your regular mail delivery and your letter carrier will take it to an agency serving those in need in your area.


Previous Issues of Food for Thought:

2014 Fall Winter

2013 Summer Winter/Spring

2012 Summer Spring Winter

2011 Summer Spring Winter

2010 Fall Summer Spring Winter 

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