The Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank exists solely to provide relief to those who are food insecure in Lehigh County through the support of foundations, local congregations, businesses, organizations, and individuals. Persons living outside Lehigh County are referred to food banks in their respective areas.
The Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank was founded on October 4, 1978, by ministers of city churches who saw the need to feed the less fortunate. For 14 years, food was distributed from the basement of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on South 5th Street. When we outgrew this location, we moved to Alliance Hall at North 6th and Chew Streets and served the community there until September 2021. Our move at that time to 417 North 14th Street provides enough space to offer a Client Choice Pantry and serve more clients.
The Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank is Lehigh County’s only daily food bank, assisting families in need from Monday through Friday The food bank provides crucial support to approximately 38,000 people each year. The food bank is open to all residents of Lehigh County. Persons living outside Lehigh County are referred to food banks in their areas.
The food bank was founded in 1978 with one simple mission – to provide relief to the hungry people in Allentown and surrounding areas, through the volunteer help of local congregations, businesses, organizations, and individuals.
The food bank is run by a Board of Directors comprised primarily of members of area churches. In January 2021, we welcomed our first Executive Director, Anne Egan, who oversees the leadership, planning and management of the food bank. Itza Castillo, our Volunteer Coordinator manages the food bank’s daily dedicated volunteers as well as social media and other tasks. Three additional paid employees complete the organization.
Sources of Food and Its Costs
The majority of the Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank’s supply is provided by the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley, which is supported by state and federal governments. The Allentown Food Bank also receives substantial food donations from churches, area businesses, scout groups, benevolent organizations, and individuals. The food bank also purchases items with its own funds on the open market when necessary.
The current cost to operate the food bank five days a week, excluding donated food, is approximately $200,000 annually. Since the food bank does not charge its clients in any way, all of these funds must be donated to the food bank each year.
Working With Us
Participation in the work of the Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank is not restricted. Any individual, congregation, organization, or business may participate by donating time and/or service, food, or money. The Food Bank is operated and staffed by volunteers and paid employees. The major role of leadership comes from local congregations.
Our Charity Status and Accountability
The Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code and is certified by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through their Bureau of Charitable Organizations. The food bank files a federal tax return annually using IRS form 990 in accordance with federal law and provides it here in the spirit of transparency and accountability.
The Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank is Allentown’s only daily food bank, assisting families in need from Monday through Friday. Every dollar of your support helps provide this crucial support to approximately 25,000 people or more each year.