This spring, St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Adopt a School Program and the Panther Valley School District partnered to begin holding a monthly food pantry to address food insecurity among families in the district. The food pantry provides eligible families with a consistent supply of nutritious perishable and non-perishable foods and beverages.
Other partners – Second Harvest Food Bank, Grace Community Church of Lansford, the Carbon County Community Foundation and private donors – and a group of dedicated volunteers have also been instrumental in developing and running the food pantry.
“We use the community school model, where the school is the hub of health and wellness in the community,” explains Kerri Quick, Community Health Liaison for the St. Luke’s Miners Campus and Geisinger St. Luke’s. “In recent years, our St. Luke’s Community Health Needs Assessments have identified food insecurity as an issue in this region. The food pantry addresses the needs of students and their families on a consistent basis.”
Through its Adopt a School program, St. Luke’s reached out to the Panther Valley School District administration and school board, which Quick says has been extremely supportive in the partnership. Panther Valley provides the venue to hold the monthly food pantry distribution and space to store the pantry’s food. The district also used grant funds to purchase a refrigerator for the pantry to store perishable foods and beverages.
St. Luke’s manages ordering the food and beverages, which it does through Second Harvest. All foods are nutritious and contribute to the physical well-being of area families.
“In addition, this program helps the mental well-being of our residents by alleviating the stress associated with food insecurity,” Quick adds.
The first food pantry distribution was held on April 20. Food distribution takes place on the third Wednesday of each month from 4 – 7 pm at Panther Valley Elementary School, located at 1 N. Mermon Avenue in Nesquehoning.
“This is a true partnership where good organizations and good people come together to offer resources, expertise, time and talent to help those in our community who need assistance,” Quick says.
For more information about the St. Luke’s Adopt a School/Panther Valley School District Monthly Food Pantry, see www.panthervalley.org/adopt-a-school/food_pantry or follow them on Facebook at “Panther Valley Community Food Pantry.” Families need to have a completed form on file to pick up food; the form is available through the pantry’s web page.
Information about the St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Adopt a School Program is available at www.slhn.org/community-health/initiatives/adopt-a-school-initiative.