Monthly Archives: July 2019

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC), as a Philabundance community partner, will be addressing summer hunger needs in the Greater Pottstown area by distributing approximately 180 free, nutritious Philabundance LunchBoxes weekly to kids who rely on school meals as a steady source of food when school is in session.

The LunchBox program provides free and nutritious ready-to-eat meals for kids under 18 who have lost access to school breakfast and lunch over summer vacation. At PCRC, kids will pick up LunchBoxes on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm at 57 North Franklin Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.

“During the summer months, we serve families with kids who wonder whether they will have enough to eat. These kids visit our Outreach Center and receive a ready-to-eat meal that day. Summer should be a time for fun and growth, not hunger,” said Victoria Bumstead, PCRC Outreach Center Director.

LunchBox meals are generously sponsored by GIANT Food Stores and produced by students in Philabundance’s culinary and life skills training program, Philabundance Community Kitchen. LunchBoxes include items like wraps, milk, and produce; some meals are fresh, while others are shelf-stable, with items like barbecue chicken, fruit cups, hummus dip, and more.

About Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities

For over 50 years, through interfaith cooperation, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) has provided Food Security, Housing Stability, and Supportive Services and Education to address the basic needs of persons within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area. PCRC coordinates its programs and referrals to help clients improve their overall stability. For more information or to give now, call 610.970.5995, or visit pottstowncluster.org.

About Philabundance

Philabundance is the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization. For 35 years, it has focused on providing emergency food to those in need. In 2018, it relieved hunger by distributing more than 26 million pounds of food through a network of 350 member agencies. In 2019, it began partnerships with critical services providers, offering food coupled with other services to end hunger for good. Philabundance serves more than 90,000 people each week, 30 percent of whom are children, 16 percent of whom are seniors, and other clients include college students, single parents and the working class. Give now or learn more at Philabundance.org.

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Barbara-WilhelmyGreetings Friends,

It’s the good old summertime — and there is plenty of heat, humidity, fireworks, barbecues, and what many people look forward to most: school and family vacation. But here at the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC), we don’t take a break from our mission to provide tangible services, support, and spiritual guidance to address the basic needs of persons within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area.

In this issue of Cluster Chronicles, you will read about our continued collaboration with Philabundance, addressing summer hunger needs weekly to kids who rely on school meals as a steady source of food when school is in session; be introduced to two brothers who chose PCRC as their Senior Project, continuing a family tradition; meet our newest Volunteer Coordinators; and PCRC staff’s new hands-on commitment to our  Community Meals program at Christ Episcopal; program updates and wrap-ups of recent fundraising efforts and events; as well as exciting upcoming events and opportunities. 

I hope you will find ways to continue to be engaged with our work and be excited to hear about the difference your support is making for those we serve. Please keep our work in your prayers and share your interest in our organization with a friend. Together, we are helping to nourish lives and strengthen families in this community, and for that I am truly grateful.

Sincerely,

Barbara Wilhelmy, LCSW

Barb signature

 

 

 

 


Executive Director

P.S. I encourage you to look through the enewsletter and let us know what you think in the Comments Section as well as share the newsletter with your friends and family and invite them to subscribe! (Social sharing options at the bottom)

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ON A SCHOOL HOLIDAY BACK IN SIXTH GRADE, brothers (twins) Erik and Andrew Moyer remember visiting with their grandmother, Linda Moyer. Little did they know that what they witnessed their grandmother do that day over five years ago would lead them to senior projects at the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) the summer of 2019.

For a time, Linda Moyer, a longtime PCRC volunteer and Delegate Assembly member who passed away last February, (read a tribute to Linda here) was in charge of collecting food at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Pottstown, and transporting it to PCRC. That particular day the brothers were in their grandmothers’ care was a volunteer day. It was an opportunity for her to engage the boys and introduce them to volunteering. They helped her take groceries out of her car and into the PCRC pantry. And so the next generation of PCRC volunteers was born!

Erik and Andrew will be entering their senior year of high school this September at Perkiomen Valley High School. The active brothers both run Cross Country, Track and Field, play basketball and the trumpet in the school band, and are members of the Link Club (helps 8th-graders transition to high school) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club. After high school, both plan to go to college: Erik intends to major in Business Marketing (sports marketing); and Andrew is considering a Business or Science/Chemistry/Math major. 

When it came time to choose a Senior Project to complete this summer, they both chose the school’s Volunteer Aspect option after considering other options. But it occurred to them they would be able to help more people with a volunteer project at PCRC, and that their grandmother would be very proud of them carrying on her legacy. And so they contacted PCRC to inquirer about completing their Senior Projects onsite. And PCRC was very lucky to have them!

The brothers helped accomplish many tasks in the food pantry, took food orders from clients, helped clients fulfill food orders; traveled to the local Dollar Tree to pick up items and helped out wherever they were needed. They were also able to do many diverse tasks other than in the pantry, one day they cleaned the entrance to the basement, mopped the floor, etc. Erik said he “Liked keeping things organized.” “We don’t want to have people just waiting and waiting.” Andrew enjoyed “Helping out people who are in need.” “People are thankful,” noticed both brothers. “Especially people for whom we take groceries and put in their car.”

According to Anissa Jones, PCRC site Volunteer Coordinator, “The boys brought great energy and integrity to their work. They were always willing to do whatever was asked of them, and were sensitive to and respectful of our clients.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if our grandmother would be doing this with us if she was still alive,” Andrew said. “She was very outgoing and friendly and would strike up a conversation with anyone.” It is evident Erik and Andrew inherited the friendliness of their beloved grandmother. “We were very close with her. We went to church with her every Sunday, and visited her in the nursing home often.” 

The brothers didn’t expect some reactions of those they were helping. “Clients value the food and are grateful,” Andrew observed. “I even gave one woman a hug,” said Erik. In these moments, they realized they were really making a difference. 

In remembering grandmother Linda Moyer, Erik and Andrew lovingly agreed, “She was the greatest grandmother ever.” “She did everything for her children and grandchildren.” She also left a legacy of the importance of volunteering and helping your neighbor, inspiring her wonderful young grandsons to follow in her faithful footsteps.

Moyer Brothers
Moyer Brothers boxing juices
Moyer Brothers at the refrigerator
Moyer Brothers
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Community Meals

Christine Jackson and Leah Shollenberger prepare to serve a lunch meal at Christ Episcopal Church.

 

In an effort to get involved more diversely and directly with those PCRC serves in the community, the staff of the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) have been organizing, preparing, serving, and cleaning up after the Community Meal lunch at Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown since the first Monday in June. Barbara Wilhelmy, PCRC Executive Director noted, “It is it is fun to be out in the community witnessing the work we do from a different angle, and to share some of the work with community partners.” All staff members share in the tasks as a team, from planning the meal, to executing all that is needed to make everything run smoothly. Leaders at Christ Episcopal Church and other groups coordinate all the activity, and are longtime critical and committed partners with PCRC. 

The staff will continue to serve at the Community Meal lunch the first Monday of every month at Christ Episcopal Church. 

For more information about Community Meals, visit pottstowncluster.org/communitymeals or call 610.970.5995.

Christ Church Banner
Commmunity Meals
Spaghetti
edie
Cupcakes
Community Meals
Community Meals
Community Meals
Community Meals
Community Meals
Community Meals
Community Meals
Community Meals
Community Meals
Community Meals
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EPICThe Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $5,000 from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®. This is a new partner for PCRC. The grant supported the Eviction Prevention and Intervention Coalition (EPIC) pilot project designed to stabilize vulnerable families and individuals who are facing eviction by providing them with legal and social services support.

The project included case management services, carried out by PCRC, to prevent eviction in the short term and to connect the household to community supports necessary to maintain long term housing stability. Financial assistance will also be provided to households as appropriate and necessary to prevent eviction. PCRC supported the program with a Housing Stability Coach working in conjunction with legal representation on-site at the Magisterial District Court in Norristown, PA.

The project served 81 households in 2018 within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area during the one-year grant period. A Housing Stability Plan and a budget was created for each eligible participating household.

“Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities was extremely honored to receive a grant from the TD Charitable Foundation,” said Executive Director Barbara Wilhelmy. “We were able to address the significant and debilitating impact that evictions have on vulnerable populations as we worked to help those living in poverty prevent eviction, maintain housing stability, and find their voice within the legal system.”

This contribution supports TD’s longstanding commitment to community enrichment through The Ready Commitment, a multi-year platform that actively promotes inclusivity, economic vitality, environmental wellbeing and health, enabling people of all backgrounds to succeed in a rapidly changing world. As part of The Ready Commitment, TD targets CDN $1 billion (US $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four critical areas: Financial Security, a more Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through this platform, TD aspires to create a more inclusive tomorrow — helping people of all backgrounds feel more confident, not just about their finances, but about their ability to achieve their goals. For information, visit td.com/thereadycommitment.

 


About Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities

For over 50 years, through interfaith cooperation, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) has provided Food Security, Housing Stability, and Supportive Services and Education to address the basic needs of persons within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area. PCRC coordinates its programs and referrals to help clients improve their overall stability. For more information, call 610.970.5995, or visit pottstowncluster.org.

About the TD Charitable Foundation

The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, one of the 10 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States. Since its inception in 2002, the Foundation has distributed over $200 million and more than 19,400 grants through donations to local nonprofits from Maine to Florida. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation, including the online grant application, is available at TDBank.com

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Wine Not

On May 9, 2019, over 65 women gathered from all parts of the Greater Pottstown area for an evening of fine wine, fellowship, and fundraising at the inaugural “Wine” Not? Women Helping Women event at the Stone Barn Cellars Winery. During the event, guests enjoyed wine tastings, a delectable dinner donated by local organizations and event committee members, and prizes such as must-have luxury women’s themed gift baskets. 

Event attendees came together to not only celebrate the women in their lives, but to also raise funds to support local under-resourced women. The need is great in Montgomery County, PA, as the largest demographic living in poverty is Female 18-24, followed by Female 25-34, and then Female 35-44. Last month PCRC served 257 families with women as “head of household.” 

Because of the women who joined us in our mission and supported the event, we were able to surpass our fundraising goal to provide local under-resourced women with food security, housing stability, and supportive services and education. We are already looking forward to the second annual Women Helping Women event in May 2020. “Wine” Not join us next year? 

Please visit our website frequently at pottstowncluster.org, or look for PCRC communications to come for information about next year’s event!

Barb Basket
Wine Not
Wine Not
Wine Not
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On June 12, 2019, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) celebrated five empowered UP3 (Understanding Poverty to Plan and Persevere) graduates during a ceremony and celebration at The Hill School Center for the Arts. The UP3 graduates successfully completed a 16-week UP3 program dedicated to getting out of poverty, building social connections, and goal planning. We are proud to announce that our graduates are now on a path to creating a brighter financial future for themselves.  

Understanding Poverty to Plan and Persevere (UP3) is a mentored 16-week program which builds on the framework of Bridges Out of Poverty, and helps individuals build their resources and social capital.

For more information about UP3 visit: pottstowncluster.org/supportiveservicesandeducation or contact Ryli Meyer at 610.970.5995 or RMeyer@pottstowncluster.org.

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Signature Page

Thank you to all who showcased their support for our mission and shared your commitment to positively impacting the lives of our neighbors in need with their recent donation to our ninth annual Signature Page Showcase of Support initiative.

We are grateful that so many have confirmed their  dedication to providing tangible services, support, and spiritual guidance to address the basic needs of persons within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area.

Because of the unwavering support we received, this community initiative has raised nearly $15,000 to support our work so we can continue to positively impact lives by providing food security,

housing stability, supportive services and education.

The Signature Page Showcase of Support will be published in The Mercury in August.

 

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“Celebrate Service with Heart” is the theme of the upcoming You Gotta Have Heart fall FUNraising event.

SAVE THE DATE You Gotta Have HeartYou are invited to join us at our 8th annual fundraiser “You Gotta Have Heart” on Thursday, September 26, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm at The SunnyBrook Ballroom.

“Celebrate Service” with us during an evening of fine food (dinner), awards, inspirational stories,
entertainment, FUNraising, and more! All proceeds support PCRC’s mission.

To learn more, or to become a sponsor, please contact Merri Brown: call 610.970.5995 or email mbrown@pottstowncluster.org; or visit pottstowncluster.org/yougottahaveheart.

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Pantry Particulars

Bring the Basics to our personal care pantry to help local friends and neighbors in need! We announce a new item and goal every month.

Each month, you can help us reach our goal by simply delivering donated items to our personal care pantry. You can also ask your family and friends to participate or even host a drive at your worship center, congregation, work, or school!

July’s goal is 31 sets of cleaning buckets (*cleaning supplies also appreciated) and our August goal is 31 silverware sets.

 

 

Volunteer Voices

PCRC recently welcomed Volunteer Coordinator, Anissa Jones and Communications Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator, Amanda Hoffman. The two will work together to strengthen the PCRC volunteer program and involve a community of volunteers who are committed to our mission. PCRC volunteers are the heart of our organization and their commitment, time, and energy are vital parts of our ability to provide services to individuals and families within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area.

When someone volunteers at PCRC they gain a better understanding of the community’s critical needs in relation to poverty, food security, and housing stability. Our volunteers impact local people in need, positively transform our community as a whole, and affect change as both an individual and part of the PCRC team.

As our programs grow and services reach more people, the need for more volunteers who are committed to our cause increases. We have ongoing and new volunteer opportunities available.

For more information, or to contact the volunteer coordinators, email volunteer@pottstowncluster.org. View all PCRC volunteer opportunities here.

Volunteer Coordinators

New PCRC Volunteer Coordinator team (l. to r.) Anissa Jones and Amanda Hoffman.

 

 

 

Word from PCRC’s Delegate Assembly

PCRC wants to thank the Delegate Assembly for its role in making this year’s Signature Page Showcase of Support initiative a success! We are grateful that so many have confirmed their  dedication to providing tangible services, support, and spiritual guidance to address the basic needs of persons within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area.

Because of the unwavering support we received, and the efforts of many Delegates, this community initiative has raised nearly $15,000 to support our work so we can continue to positively impact lives by providing food security, housing stability, supportive services and education.

The Signature Page Showcase of Support will be published in The Mercury in August.

Thank you Delegates for your continued hard work and support on behalf of PCRC’s mission!

 

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