Our Story

It is our mission to obtain food and distribute it to people in need through area non-profits, and to provide resources for education and advocacy to end hunger.

In October 1982, the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, Inc. (CACLV) created the Lehigh Valley Food Bank (LVFB). Starting with a network of about 15 agencies in Lehigh and Northampton counties, what has come to be known as Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB), today, serves 200 agencies, at more than 375 sites, in a six-county area: Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, and Wayne counties. From the beginning the two-fold objective of SHFB was 1) the distribution of food to needy people; and 2) the elimination of waste in the food industry. To discourage food industry waste, SHFB seeks donations of unsaleable, but edible, product from local companies

All product, food or non-food, is intended for the consumption or use of the needy people who participate in our member agencies’ programs. No product may be consumed or used by staff, volunteers, visitors, or member agency representatives. This policy is inviolable.

In its early years, LVFB was affiliated with the Philadelphia Food Bank and, as a result of that connection, LVFB was linked with Second Harvest National Food Bank Network (now Feeding America). Initially, the food that was available for distribution came through local donors and the Philadelphia Food Bank; LVFB did not receive food directly from Second Harvest. In time, Second Harvest changed its infrastructure and SHFB became a full affiliate of Second Harvest with all of the privileges and responsibilities that membership in FA’s network implies.

In 1983 two avenues of food receipt began to open. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania created the $8 million dollar program – a line item on the state’s budget that provided grants to counties for the purchase of food. Today, the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) is an important resource for our emergency food network; more recently, the state has allocated nearly $20 million for SFPP.

At the same time, the federal government began distributing “surplus commodities,” notably cheese and butter, which the federal government bought as part of its dairy price stabilization program. The resulting program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), is a major source of a wide variety of commodities purchased by the federal government for distribution through the emergency food network.

In April of 1995, the LVFB changed its name to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley & Northeast Pennsylvania. Second Harvest National Food Bank Network and LVFB agreed on this service territory as the best way to assure food distribution in a six-county area that includes Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Wayne counties.

In the first year of LVFB’s existence, food distributions were made from the back of a rented truck. As the program grew, warehouse space was needed. That first warehouse provided by the Bethlehem Steel Company, which donated space in one of their warehouses; the space was shared with Bethlehem Steel operations. In 1986, the generosity of the local community enabled the food bank to purchase its own home, a 7,600 square foot warehouse at 1138 North Godfrey Street in Allentown. Then, in May, 1993, the local community provided the funds to move into a new 18,000 square foot warehouse at 2045 Harvest Way in Allentown.

In 2010, SHFB leased an additional 5,000 square feet of warehouse space on Snowdrift Road to facilitate packing and distribution of Commodity Supplemental Food Program and Backpack Buddies packages.

Due to an unfortunate increase in need and market changes which led to an increase in allowable food donations, Second Harvest, inevitably, outgrew its Harvest Way location. A capital campaign was launched in December 2014 and, thanks to a very generous community, Second Harvest relocated to a 65,000 square-foot facility in September 2015. The address of the current facility is 6969 Silver Crest Road, Nazareth, PA 18064. In addition to the vastly-increased warehouse and office space, the Silver Crest facility allowed Second Harvest to more than quadruple its refrigerated and frozen storage capacity. During fiscal year 2015-2016, Second Harvest distributed nearly nine million pounds of food. It is estimated that Second Harvest’s current facility (Silver Crest) has the capacity to adequately accommodate an annual distribution of up to 30 million pounds of food.

© 2017 Second Harvest Food Bank