Nazareth Area Food Bank Fighting Hunger... Feeding Hope



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Nazareth Patch coverage: 'A+ Reward' event @ Giant

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on March 24, 2012 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (104)

Click on for the Nazareth Patch's story and photos of the event at GIANT yesterday afternoon that produced more than $500 in non-perishable food items for the Food Bank.  Don't forget to click on the series of 17 photos.

And the Express-Times told the story in photos at its website.  To view, five more photos of the event, click on



More 'Heart & Sole'

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on February 4, 2012 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (70)

Following up on the NEWS post below, clients of the Nazareth Area Food Bank should keep the flyers they receive in their February allotments of food as admission tickets for the opportunity to "Shop for Shoes" -- free!

Shoes will be available from 10 a..m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Fellowship Hall of St. John's Evangelical Church, 200 S. Broad St., in Nazareth.

If you haven't yet seen it, the post of an article from the Express-Times describes 8-year-old Jayde's Christmas request to Santa for 1,000 pairs of shoes to make available to people in need, with Food Bank clients getting the first chance to choose donated footwear that's mostly new or only slightly used. 

As of Friday, Feb 3, Jayde and her family have received donations of more than 2,000 pairs of footwear in their "shoes2give" effort.  These include shoes, boots, slippers, sports shoes, dancing shoes and more for women, men and children of all ages.

Again, clients should retain the flyers they receive and bring them to St. John's Lutheran on Saturday, Feb. 25, to gain admission to "Shop for Shoes."

"Heart and Sole"

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on January 15, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (58)

Nazarethcommunity rallies behind 8-year-old's wish to collect 1,000 pairs of shoes for the needy

By NICKFALSONE, The Express-Times, Sunday, January 15, 2012, Page A-1



There's not much space for playthese days in Jayde Rizzotto's living room, but the 8-year-old Nazareth girldoesn't seem to mind.

The room's cluttered with shoes of all sorts -- Nike sneakers, UGG boots, high heels, slippers and virtually everyother type of footwear in all sizes.


Most of the 544 pairs -- at leastthat was the count as of Friday afternoon -- are stacked in bins, crates andcardboard boxes. The collection spills from the living room into the diningroom, where trash bags filled with shoes sit on the table and more boxes restagainst the walls.


For Jayde, the number of shoescollected represents significant progress in getting her one wish for Christmasto come true. During a classroom project prior to the holiday at Shafer Elementary School,she and her fellow third graders were asked to write Santa Claus a letterasking for the one thing they wanted more than anything else.


In a two-page note, Jayde askedSaint Nick for 1,000 pairs of shoes for the needy.


"First, I will give a little bit to people who don't have shoes inPA," she wrote."Second, I will give a little bit of shoes to people who don't have shoesin NY. My last reason is I will give the rest to people who don't have shoes inNJ."


Her parents, Ben and AshleyRizzotto, saw the note late Friday, Dec. 23. Both had a hunch Santa wouldn't beable to come through with all 1,000 pairs in less than two days. Santa did,however, manage to round up one large box with 17 pairs of shoes to put underthe tree come Christmas Day.


The couple then turned to socialmedia and word-of-mouth to try to make up the difference.

Both posted about the shoecollection on their Facebook pages and talked to friends, family andco-workers. Bags of shoes, most of which appeared hardly used, startedappearing at their front door.  


 "Almost every day, there was another bag out there," BenRizzotto said. "They're stillcoming. We don't even know who some of them are from."


 Ashley Rizzotto said there havebeen both big and small contributions. Perhaps the biggest has come fromJayde's friend Makenna Hoff, also 8 and a fellow cheerleader for the NazarethMidget Wrestling program.


 When Jayde told Makenna about herwish, Makenna rushed to her Bushkill Township home to clean out her own closet.She's been assisting in rounding up the shoes ever since.


 Makenna, who attends Bushkill Elementary School,said she spread the word at her own school about the effort. Her math teacherwas among those who've contributed, she said.


 Jayde said she got the idea to askfor something for the needy while watching The Disney Network. She said she'senjoyed seeing all the shoes and particularly likes one pair of women's bootsthat were donated.


 "There are ones that aren't even hers that she doesn't want to partwith," Ashley Rizzotto said.


 Ben Rizzotto then joked, "Typical girl."


 Ashley Rizzotto said she's gonethrough a lot of Lysol disinfecting the shoes and acknowledges that there's abit of clutter in the house, but the inconvenience has been for a worthycause. 


 The family is arranging todistribute the shoes with the help of the Nazareth Area Food Bank. Thefood bank, which delivers bags of groceries each month to hundreds of people inthe region, plans to put fliers promoting the program in February's delivery,according to Jim Byrnes, director of the food bank.


 Byrnes said the fliers were asuccessful promotion tool for a coat drive the food bank participated in thispast fall. He said there's an absolute need among the food bank's clients forshoes.


 "I'm a big fan of 'Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,' and thisembodies the whole thing," Byrnes said. "I really give all the credit in the world to (Jayde) for thinkingof people in the community who are in need and doing something about it."


Byrnes said a location fordistributing the shoes is still being worked out.


 Ashley Rizzotto said she's beentrying to work with the family's church, St. John's Lutheran Church inNazareth, to use church space to distribute the shoes.


 Jayde said she would like the spaceset up to look like a shop so people could browse around for what they want.


 Whatever is left after the localdistribution will go to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the nationalveteran's service organization that collects clothes and other items for theneedy. 


 Those who wish to donate to Jayde'sshoe drive are asked to e-mail



Food Bank featured in Express-Times

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on December 12, 2011 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (50)

Lehigh Valley food banks stock up for holiday season


By Pamela Sroka-Holzmann | The Express-Times, Monday, December 12, 2011 


Hunger in the Nazareth area is a single grandmother struggling to support three generations, including herself and disabled adults.


It’s a young couple coping with unemployment and rising housing and fuel costs while caring for two children.


And it’s a widow who needs nonperishable food items to supplement a meager monthly allowance.


These and about 300 others arrive every month at the Nazareth Area Food Bank requesting two bags of food.


Hundreds of volunteers support the food bank, including church groups, civic organizations, Scouts and schools. A core group of about 25 help stock shelves and distribute packages.


“We have people come to us for food because they are unable to make ends meet even when both spouses are working,” said Jim Byrnes, food bank director. “It really makes no difference where you live.”


“There’s always a need,” agreed Ellen Potter, who runs the Easton Area Society of St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry with her husband, Dennis.


The food bank that opened in August 2010 serves folks who earn less than 150 percent of the poverty level. The bank supports 200 Easton families.


The only requirement to receive food from the Nazareth Area Food Bank is residency inside the Nazareth Area School District boundaries. Food is given on the honor system, Byrnes said. Many who come are proud.


“We get people who say, ‘We couldn’t hold out any more and were trying to put off coming to a food bank,’” Byrnes said. “But that’s why we’re here and why the community supports us.”


The Nazareth Area Food Bank’s roots date to efforts in the mid-1980s by local churches. They consolidated at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Nazareth and then opened a headquarters in 2008 on Main Street.


Today, the nonprofit serves hundreds.


“There is a recognition in the community that times are tough and we are seeing a greater demand,” Byrnes said.


The Nazareth Area Food Bank normally is stocking near-empty shelves for the holiday season, but 10 local Boy Scout troops collected 5,415 pounds of food in recent weeks.


“This is the most we have ever received in a holiday season,” Byrnes said. “We really are blessed in that the community is a very giving community and recognizes there are less fortunate among us who need help and are always willing to help us.”





•Food from the Nazareth Area Food Bank is distributed on the second Tuesday and following Wednesday of every month and by appointment at the food bank, 529 S. Main St. Most needed items often include canned stew or chili, canned peas and mixed vegetables, peanut butter and jelly, boxed cereal, cans of soup and Spam cans.


•The Easton Area Society of St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, 841 Washington St., makes food available to families from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Since most clients rely on food stamps, which can only be used for food products, Potter said there is a need for soaps, paper products, toiletries and laundry detergent. Also needed are pasta, Hamburger Helper boxes, boxed potatoes, spaghetti sauce, cereal and oatmeal.


•The New Bethany Ministries Food Bank, 339 W. Fourth St., Bethlehem, has a concentration of clients on the city’s South Side. Volunteers say nobody is turned away. The food bank is open 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays through Fridays.


•The NORWESCAP Food Bank, 201 N. Broad St., Phillipsburg, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon Fridays and Saturdays. Backed by the help of more than 900 volunteers, NORWESCAP distributes more than 2 million pounds of food annually to more than 120 pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, on-site feeding programs, child care centers, senior centers and programs for the disabled in Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren counties.





•For information on the Nazareth Area Food Bank, call 610-365-8869 or visit


•For information on the Easton Area Society of St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, call 610-253-3553, ext. 50.


•For information on the NORWESCAP Food Bank, call 908-454-4322 or visit


•For information New Bethany Ministries Food Bank, call 610-691-5602 or visit

© 2011 All rights reserved.

Thanks to Nazareth donors to Boy Scouts' food collection

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on November 12, 2011 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (2)

On behalf of the people we will be able to feed, the Food Bank is extremely grateful to everyone in the Nazareth area who donated non-perishable food and other items to local Boy Scout groups as part of the national "Scouting for Food" collection this weekend.

Boy Scout leaders say the 15,415 pounds of food collected locally -- more than 7.5 tons! -- is an all-time high for the Nazareth area. The Boy Scouts' collection is the single largest influx of food the Food Bank receives during the year.

The collection is especially timely because it followed immediately after our all-time high in the number of people who came to us for food this month.  We continue to see unprecedented requests for assistance because of the lingering economic problems affecting people throughout the Lehigh Valley.

That's why we appreciate the Nazareth community's generosity so much.  Blessings to all who donated, to the Scouts, their families and leaders who organize the collection, to the Nazareth Rotary Club members who volunteer and to the faithful volunteers who support the Food Bank year round.

Blue Eagles canned goods collection Friday night

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on November 7, 2011 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (4)

When Nazareth Area High School fights against DelawareValley Friday night in a bid to advance in the PIAA football playoffs, the BlueEagles also will be fighting against hunger in our community.

The football team encourages its fans to bring canned goods to the game and donate them to the Nazareth Area Food Bank to support our mission to feed the hungry who live in the school district. Look for shopping carts that are to be used to collect the donated items.


Thanks much in advance to the Lehigh Valley Confernce champions for their thoughtfulness!



Support the Boy Scouts Scouting for Food drive Nov. 12

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on November 3, 2011 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (5)

The Nazareth Area Food Bank is blessed in many ways by  the breadth of support we receive from churches, schools, businesses, service clubs, other organizations and individuals in our community.


That list also includes Scouting organizations – both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts -- and their leaders who direct scouting activities.   


Coming up on Saturday, Nov. 12 is BSA’s national “Scouting for Food” drive and we are fortunate that scouting organizations in the Nazareth area have designated our Food Bank to receive the non-perishable food items they collect that day.  The Scouts’ donation usually is the single largest donation of food we receive during the year … and it’s all due to community participation.


Thanks much in advance to individual donors and to theScouts for remembering those in need in our area.


FYI - Hungry Muppet to appear on "Sesame Street"

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on October 4, 2011 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (9)

Hungry Muppet to appear on "Sesame Street"

3:20pm EDT Oct. 4, 2011

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A new poverty-stricken Muppet will highlight the issue of hunger struggles on an episode of "Sesame Street", the show said in a statement on Tuesday.


Pink-faced Muppet Lily, whose family deals with food insecurity, will join Big Bird, Elmo and other favorites on a one-hour prime-time special featuring country star Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams Paisley called "Growing Hope Against Hunger," to air Oct 9.


The new Muppet will bring awareness to the ongoing hunger struggles that families face in the United States, the show said.


"Food insecurity is a growing and difficult issue for adults to discuss, much less children," the Paisleys said in a statement.


"Sesame Street" is seen in either the U.S. or local TV versions in more than 140 nations and has won multiple awards for its educational content for pre-schoolers.


The special will see children tell personal stories of their families struggling with hunger, and will also show how some families find innovative and community-driven solutions, including food drives and assistance programs.


Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture data estimates that 17 million American children have limited or uncertain access to food. And 9.6 million of these children are under the age of 6, which prompted Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind "Sesame Street," to launch a "Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget" initiative.

(Reporting and Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Christine Kearney)

Car Wash POSTPONED until 10/1

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on September 23, 2011 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (4)

Due to inclement weather, the Nazareth Area High School wrestling team has postponed its car wash that had been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24, to benefit the Food Bank.  The new date for the car wash is next Saturday, Oct. 1.

Please make a note of the new date and plan to come to the Food Bank at 529 S. Main Street in Nazareth for a great washing of your car by an energetic group of young men.

Proceeds from the free will offering for the car wash benefit the Food Bank.

NAHS Wrestling Team car wash 9/24

Posted by Jim Byrnes, Director on September 14, 2011 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (3)

For the second year in a row, the Nazareth Area High School Wrestling Team will conduct a car wash between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, Sept. 24, to raise funds for the Food Bank.


Members of the wrestling team will wash vehicles in exchange for free-will offerings in the parking lot of the Food Bank, 529 S. Main St., in Nazareth.


Last year, the wrestlers did a superb job on the cars and vans that stopped by and they aim to outdo themselves this year.


Drivers are asked to follow the traffic signage and enter via the driveway between the Food Bank and Orwig's Granary apartments.  When leaving the car wash, they should re-enter Main Street from the Food Bank parking lot.


The Food Bank is open every Saturday (except holiday weekends) to accept donations of non-perishable food items.  Hours are 9 - 11 a.m.   The need remains great.