Those are the words of Allentown Rescue Mission's gaunt exec director, Gary Millspaugh. I met him and Lehigh County Commissioner Dean Browning this morning at some ungodly hour for ... breakfast. At the time he said that, I was stuffing my face with a feta cheese omelet.
"Hey Gary, the owner here would like to see you about a donation."
As Millspaugh went in to the kitchen, Dean and I finished off his eggs. There's no good reason for us to be hungry either, and Gary is skinny, so he's used to not eating.
Gary is one of those very rare gems who really cares about other people. He has some wonderful ideas to help Allentown's homeless and very poor, and I'm going to tell you about that in the next few days. But there's a bigger issue he wants me to tell you about now.
Most of the low income kids going to school get free breakfasts and lunches. In fact, some of the young ladies depend on the school nurse for feminine hygiene products. Their mothers can't afford to give them more than one item, if that.
In about three weeks, school will be over. Low income moms will be going to their local food banks. But the cupboards are bare. The rising cost of food and fuel is hurting people everywhere. It especially hurts the poor, who have to decide whether to pay the electric bill or eat. Unfortunately, people right here in the Lehigh Valley are hungry.
The food banks need help. Gary asks that, when you do your grocery shopping, to pick up a few extra items and drop them off at the local food bank. Here are some of the Lehigh Valley food banks.
Allentown Rescue Mission, 355 W. Hamilton St, Allentown, PA (You can drop off food and supplies at the Mission any week day, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or call Bill Dickinson at 610-740-5500, ext. 14, for other times or arrangements.)
Salvation Army of Bethlehem, 521 Pembroke Rd, Bethlehem, PA 18018. Phone: 610-867-4681.
Northampton Area Food Bank, 1601 Canal Street, Northampton, PA. Phone: 610-262-8030.
Nazareth Area Food Bank, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 200 S. Broad Street, Nazareth, PA 18064. Contact Elizabeth Huth, director (610-759-0821) or Jim Byrnes, president of the board of directors (610-923-0821).
Bethany E.C. Church, 224 N 6th St, Allentown, PA 18102. Phone: 610-434-1477.
Lehigh County Conference of Churches, 8th and Walnut, Allentown, PA. Phone: 610-462-4984;
New Bethany Ministries, 333 W 4th St, Bethlehem, PA 18015. Phone: 610-691-5602 x27;
Second Harvest Food Bank, 2045 Harvest Way, Allentown, PA 18104. Phone: 610-434-0875;
These are the most needed food and non-perishable items:
Fruits and Juices
Meat (spam, tuna, deviled ham, chicken, turkey)
Meat Meals (chili, beef stew, chicken and dumplings)
Canned Pasta meals
Pork and Beans
Tomatoes and Vegetables
Baby and Other Needs
Baby Food and Formula
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Pasta and Sauces
If you know of any Lehigh Valley food banks that I've missed, please let me know in the comments. I'd like to create a permanent link to all local food banks.