New Home Dedicated to the Late Sharon Gausling
The Second Harvest Food Band of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania celebrated the completion of its $3.3 million fund raising campaign to pay for its new warehouse at 6969 Silver Crest Road in East Allen Township. The 65,000 square foot facility is nearly four times the size of the facility it occupied in southwest Allentown since the early 1990’s.
Campaign co-chairs David Shaffer of Just Born and Anne Baum of Capital BlueCross spoke at the event. Shaffer expressed pride in “a community that gave so generously to make sure their neighbors would never go hungry for lack of food assistance,” while Baum, “expressed thanks to the more than 700 donors for the generosity that made it all possible.”
The building was christened Sharon’s Pantry after the late Sharon Gausling, who died in September 2015. Her husband, Mike Gausling, one of the founders of OraSure and a partner in the venture capital firm Originate Ventures, was on hand to honor his late wife with a touching tribute. Sharon’s mother and father, Patricia and Robert Mesmer, and sister Debbie, were also present for the announcement.
The East Allen Township location is more centrally located within the six-county territory served by Second Harvest than the building in southwest Allentown was. While the new location is a slightly longer drive for Allentown area agencies that receive some or all of their food from Second Harvest, it is far closer for the many agencies outside of Lehigh County (the Food Bank serves Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, Wayne and Pike counties).
The cavernous facility also enables Second Harvest to solicit and distribute much more fresh product, which is generally more nutritious than non-perishable products that have dominated the food bank’s product line throughout its history. Its cooler capacity in the old building was approximately 5,800 cubic feet while the new building has 20,500 cubic feet of cooler space; the old building’s freezer had 7,200 cubic feet of storage space while the new building has 32,000 cubic feet of freezer storage space.
More than 200 nonprofit organizations throughout the six counties get some or all of the food they distribute from Second Harvest, collectively providing food assistance to more than 60,000 people each month. The Reverend Everett Upton of Common Ground Ministries spoke at the event, representing those organizations.
The Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania is a program of the Community Action Lehigh Valley, which created it in 1982. The Food Bank is an affiliate of Feeding America, the largest food assistance network in the United States.