Catholic Charities Finds Creative Ways to Feed the Hungry During Pandemic Conditions

The Catholic Charities soup kitchen in downtown Allentown has adapted to changing pandemic conditions while continuing to do its best to serve the hungry.

There’s still a line at the kitchen, on Chew Street, well before the 12:30 p.m. opening time, but now instead of the traditional sit-down meal, patrons are given a socially distanced ‘grab and go’ take-out meal.

The kitchen, supported in part by the recently-completed Cooks With Collars program, will continue serving in this format until conditions allow a return to sit-down service.

Earlier in the pandemic, the kitchen switched from its normal service to distribution of essential boxes of food for families and individuals. This continued from March through August, 2020.

During that period, individuals and families received emergency food boxes sized according to the number of people living in a household, intended to supplement a family’s groceries with a three to four-day supply of food. This allowed them to save a portion of their grocery budget for other necessities such as medications.

Food boxes contained groceries including cereal, rice, peanut butter, fresh milk and eggs, canned goods, bread, pasta items, baby food and more. Clients also received locally grown produce donated by student members of Allentown Central Catholic High School’s Central City Project.

In total, more than 2,300 food boxes were distributed, serving an estimated 9,588 people.

Last Spring and Summer, Catholic Charities staff and volunteers conducted a number of Donation Drive-Through events held in the parking lot of The Vegan Butcher in Allentown, and St. Thomas More and other diocesan parishes, at the Zator Law Office, and at Planet Fitness in Easton.

These food drives, which continue, resulted in a collection of well over six tons of food and more than $12,000 in cash contributions.

For more information on Catholic Charities, or to learn how you can help support their food programs and other ministries, visit their website.


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