The borough of Whitehall is home to a large multi-ethnic refugee and immigrant population. Prior to the pandemic, the Whitehall Library and its community partners hosted an annual popular multi-cultural potluck dinner at Baldwin High-School. The library wanted to continue to successfully connect neighbors through food and applied for a grant through the Allegheny County Library Association to create pre-packaged meal kits representing five different ethnic cultures. In addition to the kits themselves, the library also filmed local community members preparing the dishes. Patrons can pick up a kit containing all the necessary shelf-stable ingredients, the recipe and access to the cooking video.
Working with various community partners, the meal kits, to date, represent traditional food from Nepal, Iraq, India and West Africa. Kathy Lipecky, Family & Community Engagement Specialist for South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM) says, “Cooking and sharing a meal together is a tangible expression of the way we care for the people we love. Sharing recipes with others is a source of pride and a way to celebrate your culture.”
“Since our neighbors can’t physically gather to share a meal right now, we thought that the meal kits would provide a way to virtually connect and share. In addition, meal kits have become more and more popular and this is a new and innovative way to experience them with the added bonus of watching local neighbors prepare the dish!” says Library Director, Paula Kelly. New kits will be added regularly, check the library website for details.