At least six times a month, food is made available to families and individuals in need. Participants may come to the Food Pantry once a month. It is a choice pantry, meaning participants can choose the items they wish to eat. Packaged food items, canned goods, some dairy products and frozen meats are obtained from Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania. Fresh produce from the Easton Urban Farm is available for approximately half of the year, In addition, the Food Pantry is the beneficiary of significant gleaning efforts from farms, farm stores and retail markets.
The Food Pantry will serve over 400 families (over 1,400 individuals) and 45,000 meals a year. The need is largely driven by low wages and high housing-related costs. The program is a frequent entry point for other services of The Neighborhood Center and other providers.
The Food Pantry is open the 2nd and 4th Wednesday from 4 PM to 7 PM and every Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM.
Easton Urban Farm
All too frequently, low-income families run out of money before they are able to buy food, largely due to high rents and low wages. In conjunction with The Neighborhood Center’s Food Pantry and Lafayette College’s Vegetables In the Community program, hundreds of families gain access to fresh produce grown on the Easton Urban Farm. The Neighborhood Center is located in a small city park and uses over half-an-acre for the Farm. In 2018, there were over 6,000 pounds of produce harvested, and the Farm is on pace to match that number in 2019. A master gardener leads the effort, assisted by dozens of volunteers. The partnership with Lafayette College enables the Farm to also serve the City’s West Ward. That effort is partially supported by Lafayette College’s LaFarm and an employee-managed garden at Crayola.
Not only is the Farm a source of produce, it also serves as an educational program for people interested in gardening, suitable for replication in any setting ranging from bucket gardens to backyard gardens to community gardens. In the future, the organization intends to build on the success of the Farm and the Food Pantry to establish The Neighborhood Center as a gathering place, where neighbors come to learn and socialize. The organization is also pursuing grants to add senior citizens, youth and intergenerational gardening programs.