Spark Grants - Food & Housing Access
The US National Library of Medicine defines food insecurity as having uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food or the inability to acquire foods in socially acceptable ways. This expansive problem is in connection with housing instability, which is when families have difficulty paying rent, spend more than 50% of their income on housing, frequently move, and live in overcrowded conditions.
Every year, the problem of food and housing insecurity leads to educational deficits and health consequences that affect families. The issue of food and housing access is not only a national epidemic, but also greatly impacts community members in the greater Lehigh Valley.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
GIVE TO THE CAUSE. FOOD AND HOUSING ACCESS
Congratulations to our Food and Housing Access Grant Recipients
New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem received $25,000 to renovate a two-story garage into a food pantry to expand its facility, which provides food and other services to the needy in the Lehigh Valley.
The School Sisters of Saint Francis in Bethlehem received $10,000 toward expanding its goals of feeding the hungry, caring for the Earth and building health communities.
Nurture Nature Center in Easton received $10,000 to expand a SNAP —supplemental nutrition assistance program — that would make fresh produce and healthy foods available to customers using food stamps.
Valley Youth House Committee, Inc. in Allentown received $2,500 to expand its inclusive housing for homeless LGBTQ teenagers in the Lehigh Valley.
Pinebrook Family Answers received $2,500 to fund its transitional residence program, which provides homeless women, often single mothers, in Allentown with an affordable and safe place to live.
Lehigh Valley Perspectives: Food & Housing Access
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation held a program, Lehigh Valley Perspectives: Food & Housing Access, on Wednesday, May 31 featuring talks by Brett Feldman, Director of the Street Medicine program, Lehigh Valley Health Network; and Marc Rittle, Co-Founder of the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council, Senior Director of Community Impact, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
The event was held at Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeastern Pennsylvania. Visitors were given tours of the 65,000-square-foot facility. Second Harvest sends food and hygiene products to more than 200 agencies across six counties. The food bank has two large warehouses and often holds a million pounds of food at a time.The facility has a large refrigerator and freezer, which has allowed the food bank to bring in more fresh produce and distribute a larger variety of healthy food. See the photo gallery below...
Video | Marc Rittle, Co-Founder of the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council, Senior Director of Community Impact, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
Learn more about Food and Housing access...view the five finalist videos. Thank you to all who voted on the videos...we be announcing the grant recipients soon. These organizations are tackling this important issue in the Lehigh Valley in a creative and collaborative way.
Making the Case | Food and Housing Access
- It is estimated that more than 75,000- one in ten- Lehigh Valley residents are food insecure. http://www.unitedwayglv.org/see-the-impact/food-access/food-council-policy
- In the Lehigh Valley, one in three children are hungry. http://www.unitedwayglv.org/see-the-impact/food-access/food-council-policy
- According to Feeding America, one in seven children are hungry in the United States. http://www.unitedwayglv.org/see-the-impact/food-access/food-council-policy
- In Lehigh County, nearly 2 out of 5 (37%) of all children are eligible for free and reduced lunch. https://www.lvhn.org/sites/default/files/img/CHNA.pdf
- More than 10% of households in the Lehigh Valley have limited access to adequate food quality because of a lack of money and other resources. https://www.lvhn.org/sites/default/files/img/CHNA.pdf
- Food banks in the Lehigh Valley area reported distributing nine million pounds of food each year to approximately 65,000 people.
- In the Lehigh Valley there are two-food desert regions, where families who have low incomes lack access to healthy and affordable food, causing devastating short-term and long-term effects to children.
- The USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas identified more than 20 census tracts in the Greater Lehigh Valley that are low-income communities experiencing limited access to food.
- Census data shows an estimated 12.7% of households in Lehigh County and 10.3% of households in Northampton County utilize SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
- According to a US Census, 27.6% of households in Allentown, 18.1% of households in Bethlehem, and 23.3% of Easton households use food stamps.
- More than 1 in 3 (35.3%) occupied housing units in Lehigh and Northampton Counties have one or more housing problems including overcrowding, high housing costs, or lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities. https://www.lvhn.org/sites/default/files/img/CHNA.pdf
- In the Lehigh Valley, 36.11% of housing united have one or more substandard conditions. https://www.lvhn.org/sites/default/files/img/CHNA.pdf
- According to a 2014 census there were approximately 2,523 men, women and children housed in the 9 Lehigh Valley shelters.
- In Lehigh County there is currently over 600 families waiting for openings in shelters
- Approximately 1 out of 10 residents in the Lehigh Valley live in poverty.
- In America, it was reported that on average children spend 45.3 nights in a shelter and adults spent 43.4 nights.
- On any given night, it is estimated that 36,000 youth are sleeping outside or in shelters throughout our nation.