Throughout the pandemic, organizations across Lehigh Valley have stepped up to lend a hand and give back to the community.
Lehigh Valley has faced significant challenges before, but we are a region with a demonstrated track record of uniting in uncertain times and rising together to be stronger. The heart of our region is our community, and we applaud all involved for these outstanding efforts.
Is your organization giving back to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share your story with us.
The Candlewood Suites in Bethlehem, PA along with Steel Hospitality Management Group provided lunch to Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) 11 drive-thru testing facilities with 100 plus staff members each as a sign of appreciation. This effort has since been extended to all medical personnel at LVHN, St. Luke's and local first responders. Not only does this send a message to these wonderful individuals that their efforts are not going unnoticed, but it also supports the local restaurants. Additionally, the Candlewood Suites in Bethlehem is providing rooms for traveling nurses, doctors and any medical staff involved with fighting the COVID-19 battle.
Local distilleries from around Lehigh Valley got creative when they saw a shortage of sanitizing products. Companies including Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, Social Still, and Triple Sun Spirits quickly switched production to focus on developing hand sanitizing products that were donated to local charitable organizations and health care facilities.
Jack Callaghan's Ale House, a restaurant located in Allentown's West End, took a customer's idea and put it into action. Their team is offering a pay-it-forward campaign where you can donate a meal and send it to our region's first responders.
When event cancellations dominated the calendar, the PPL Center was left with an excess of food that would normally be used to feed fans at concerts and hockey games. Rather than let it go to waste, their team connected with local groups to distribute community wide. Head Chef Andrew Wissa delivered a van full of fresh fruits and vegetables to both Salvation Army locations in Allentown, including their food bank and shelter for women and children. Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley also picked up a delivery weighing 1,840 pounds for distribution to people in need.
Likewise, the Historic Hotel Bethlehem offered excess supplies of food for those in need by setting up a table for pick-up outside their building. Pat's Pizza & Bistro lent a hand to local residents in need by preparing pantry boxes that were available for pick-up at the Bethlehem location. McCarthy's Red Stag Pub offered soups for those in need, and Notch Modern Kitchen and Bar donated meals to the Allentown Rescue Mission’s Sponsor a Meal program.
Lehigh Valley colleges and universities have also contributed to local hospitals and first responders. Muhlenberg College provided a supply of PPE to the Allentown Police Department and Cedar Crest College delivered supplies to health care providers across the region.
Educational institutions aren't the only locals lending a hand to Lehigh Valley healthcare workers. Blue Mountain Resort donated over 1,200 pairs of goggles along with masks, gowns, gloves, and sanitizer to St. Luke's University Health Network to help combat any possible shortages in supplies.
Larger corporations throughout the region have also offered support to locals. Freshpet, a Hanover Township-based pet food company, purchased $20,000 in gift cards to local restaurants. The company is giving each of its 400 workers a $50 gift card every other week for use at one of five locally owned restaurants.
Fanatics, the sports apparel company that makes Major League Baseball uniforms, has utilized its Palmer Township manufacturing facility to make masks and gowns for hospitals and emergency personnel across the region. The company plans to produce up to 1 million masks and gowns from the same fabric – pinstripes and all – that they normally use to make jerseys for the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.
The Allentown-based Stargazer Cast Iron supported local restaurants by donating 10 percent of proceeds from purchases made through its online store from April 12-25 to three local establishments including Bolete (Bethlehem; also operates Mister Lee’s and Silvershell Counter + Kitchen, Easton), The Bayou (Bethlehem and Easton; Queen City BBQ in Allentown; Wiz Kids, Bethlehem), and Union and Finch (Allentown).
Local high school coaches, umpires and officials organized a baseball and softball tournament to give seniors an opportunity to end their high school careers on a high tone. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs hosted the semifinals and finals for local high school players who were unable to compete in their final seasons of interscholastic eligibility.
Amid COVID-19 and other challenges that are dividing our society, the Conversations with KidsPeace podcast tells an inspirational story of connection. Host Bob Martin talked with a recreational therapist about how kids in a Lehigh Valley residential treatment program found a way to share a message of hope with residents of local nursing homes as both face the stress of pandemic lockdowns.