Luthercare for Kids and its collaborative program, Systems Aligned in Learning (SAIL), recently launched a mobile food distribution program to bring free, healthy produce and non-perishable foods to low-income families attending home-based childcare programs.
SAIL regularly provides free resources and support to 39 local in-home childcare providers. Many of the children who attend the home-based childcare centers are from low-income families, and the pandemic presented these families with unique challenges.
SAIL’s partners – Luthercare for Kids, The United Way of Lancaster, Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Health, The Library System of Lancaster County, and COBYS Family Services – looked at what struggles these children might be facing that impact their learning and found many were facing food insecurity.
“We know children who are not getting proper meals and proper nutrition are going to have a harder time learning and developing,” says Lorita Valente, Luthercare’s Executive Director of Community Programs. “So what can we do about it?” The solution: a partnership with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
Now, 42 families being served by in-home providers are receiving regular deliveries of nutritious food, with plans to expand the program in 2022. This delivery program, made possible by generous donations, provides needed relief to families so they can succeed.
On a recent chilly January morning, SAIL representatives Lorita Valente and Heather Rotella, of Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Health; Jill Wagner, of the Library System of Lancaster County; and Melissa Salgado, a Luthercare for Kids Mentor, gathered near downtown Lancaster for the first mobile food distribution event. A Central Pennsylvania Food Bank representative arrived with 84 boxes filled with produce and dry goods, including onions, sweet potatoes, cabbage, cantaloupe, pasta, canned fruit, 100% fruit juice, and more. The SAIL team packed the boxes into their vehicles to deliver to the in-home providers. That day, each family attending the in-home daycare and each provider received two food boxes and bottle of hand sanitizer.
Food distributions will occur once a month to start, with the goal of extending to weekly if successful. SAIL also plans to incorporate sample recipes, menu planning ideas, and other resources with each food box. The project is funded thanks to support from generous donors and grant support from The UPMC Pinnacle Foundation and The Steinman Foundation.
Thank you to our supporters for making these acts of service possible!
About Luthercare and Luthercare for Kids:
Founded in 1949, Luthercare, a social ministry organization affiliated with the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a member of Lutheran Services in America, is a leading provider of independent, personal care and skilled care residences in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Luthercare operates Luther Acres, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Lititz, Pa.; Spang Crest, a rehabilitation center, skilled nursing and personal care with memory support community in Lebanon, Pa.; and St. John’s Herr Estate, an independent living and personal care community in Columbia, Pa. Additionally, Luthercare operates three PA Keystone Stars-accredited child care and early learning centers in Annville, Marietta and Reamstown. Luthercare, a pioneer in Child Care Programs, also offers a Mentoring Program, which aids home-based child care providers in Lancaster County.