After the 2013 PA Youth Survey showed 16.1 percent of Whitehall-Coplay School District sixth-graders did not know where their next meal was coming from, a group of concerned community members now known as the Whitehall-Coplay Area CTC Hunger Initiative began planning ways to alleviate the problem in the community.
The group has spread awareness, asked for help from churches and community members and provided new ways for families to receive fresh vegetables and other foods from the local food pantry.
The cancer program at Lehigh Valley Health Network last week announced a partnership with the oldest private cancer center in the world, the New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
As part of the Communities That Care group trying to eradicate the "shocking" issue of hunger in Whitehall and Coplay, local businesses and community members are joining in to provide fresh foods and healthy eating expertise for the cause.
Shari Noctor, the woman in charge of the recently named Whitehall-Coplay Area CTC Hunger Initiative, said the CTC group is trying to educate local families about healthy eating and help people have access to fresh produce. As part of this, she welcomes businesses to donate money and volunteer time to the program.
The Whitehall-Coplay hunger initiative is hoping to make more faith organizations part of the team.
Shari Noctor, a local real estate agent who also runs the Communities That Care group trying to eradicate hunger in the area, said she hopes more of the 24 churches in Whitehall and Coplay will participate in the program.
If more than the six churches that are currently involved in the Whitehall Food Pantry join in collecting food, Noctor hopes to have each church specialize, collecting a particular food item.
The National Weather Service confirmed July 1 that Whitehall Township was affected by "straight line wind damage," not consistent with a tornado, during the heavy storms that ripped through the area the day before.
According to a preliminary local storm report by the NWS published at 5:55 p.m. July 1, a survey team investigating a possible tornado in the township found instead straight line wind damage, with an estimated maximum wind speed of 80 mph.
The reported funnel clouds did not touch down on the ground, the NWS report further concluded in a final report.
Community and faith groups in Whitehall and Coplay are launching a battle against hunger in the area.
Following the general "uptick" of children in schools qualifying for free or reduced lunches and a recent survey in the school district, Communities That Care, a network of community members dedicated to keeping the area's youth on the right track, is making an effort to increase access to food for poor families in the Whitehall community.
The severe weather that prompted Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. to declare a state of emergency June 30 has also led to a PPL call for backup in fixing the damage in the region.
Hozza told The Press Wednesday contractors were called from other areas to help restore power and phone service to the township following the storm. He said PPL made the decision to hire the extra help late Tuesday night.