Vince’s Famous Cheesesteaks accepting school supplies for Allentown students

Date: Sep 15, 2016

Vince's Famous Cheesesteaks is very excited to announce a new partnership with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley to benefit the children of the Allentown School District.  Our work with United Way will focus on encouraging students and families to keep school absences to a minimum this academic year.  Chronic Absenteeism (missing 2 days of school a month or 18 days total) is a serious problem in Allentown, affecting nearly 1 in 4 students. Students who miss too many classroom days fall so far behind they struggle to catch up and are the most likely to drop out. Allentown School District, Lehigh County, and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, along with community organizations, the Police Department and area hospitals, are launching a city-wide Attendance Awareness Campaign called “Challenge 5” – urging kids to “Strive for Less than Five” absences. Vince's is supporting this effort through signage at our downtown store and other efforts.

Why We're Getting Involved:

Vince Cocca, Sr., our founder, was the son of Italian immigrants.  As a first-generation American growing up in a home where little English was spoken, he faced the kinds of struggles many children still face today in our community.  Among the family heirlooms we cherish is his perfect attendance certificate from the ASD in 1937.  We can only imagine how hard-won an accomplishment that was in those days, and are keenly aware that transience and other issues far beyond any student's control push proper attendance even further from the grasp of many families.  As people in the food business, we're also convinced that the research is right: kids can't learn if they're hungry.  As stakeholders in downtown Allentown, and as a family "from the old neighborhood," we know that the City can't truly succeed if its students continue to struggle.  These issues go hand in hand. Vince believed that education was key to success, and we believe every child has a right to a good education.  For these reasons and many more, we'll be continuing to partner with United Way to help resource and equip Allentown students for success.

What We're Doing Now:
We also know that many students in the District don't have many of the basic school supplies needed for success.  In addition to lending vocal and visual support to Challenge Five, we're launching a School Supply and Backpack Drive beginning this coming Monday, September 19.  From September 19 - October 21, we ask that you please bring school supplies, lunch boxes, and backpacks to our Downtown Allentown store (806 Hamilton Street, 18101) for collection, and United Way will help us get them in the hands of the students in greatest need. 

"Big retailers have just put all their back-to-school inventory on clearance," Vince's President Vince Cocca, Jr., said, "so it's a great time to stock up, give back, and remember that students in need have those needs all year long.  As a local business, as a family business, we'll do all we can to help.  I'm proud to be a graduate of the Allentown School District, I'm proud to be part of a thriving Allentown, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to help and to encourage others to do the same."

With thanks,

The Vince's Family