packaged foods sitting on metal food pantry shelves at choice food pantry

Nearly a year ago, SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) contracted to 2019 levels, reducing family food budgets by approximately $90 per person, and less than two months later, Northampton County wound down its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Both of these losses have been devastating for our neighbors, who were already struggling with food costs that have increased more than 10% and rents that have gone up by as much as 40% locally. We’ve seen the impact of these factors most acutely in our Choice Food Pantry, where the number of households seeking access to nutritious groceries increased by 95% in 2023. This illustrates that our neighbors live with pre-pandemic resources in a post-pandemic world.

 To meet this increasing need, New Bethany needs to renovate the Choice Food Pantry to store and distribute food more efficiently than the current layout and cold storage capacity allows. This plan will also expand the amount of fresh, nutritious food we can supply our neighbors.

The renovation will increase cooler and freezer space, improve shelving and storage, increase flow in the pantry, and offer a greater variety of fresh, nutritious food. We will phase this work to enable the pantry to continue distributing food with minimum interruption. Watch social media for updates as this project moves ahead. 

Many thanks to our generous funders: Sylvia Perkin Perpetual Charitable Trust, Northampton County Grow Norco, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Food Recovery Infrastructure Grant, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture TEFAP Reach and Resiliency Grant, the City of Bethlehem’s Community Recovery Fund, the Helen & R.K. Laros Foundation, and the Provident Bank Foundation.