Monthly Archives: October 2019

celebrate serviceThe Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities community came together on Thursday, September 26th at The SunnyBrook Ballroom for the eighth year in a row — this year to “Celebrate Service with Heart” — for fellowship and fundraising, and to recognize its Caring Community Awardees. We are grateful to our 2019 major event sponsors: Scott and Susan Bentley Fund and Mr. and Mrs. Karl Glocker; along with all our other sponsors shown below.

Event guests enjoyed a social hour during which two students — Isabella Feldman and Matthew McCray, both from The Hill School, superbly performed songs from The Greatest Showman and Dreamgirls the Musical respectively; buffet dinner; awards; raffle items including a “Mystery Basket” auction; raising funds for our critical Wish List items; inspirational stories; and a video premiere. PA State Representative Joe Ciresi served as the evening’s emcee who opened the program with an energetic and inspiring rendition of the song “Heart” from the movie Damn Yankees, with Dr. Myra Forrest as his accompanist. The invocation was offered by PCRC’s Head Chaplain, Pastor Rick Knarr.

Special guests included Pottstown Mayor, Stephanie A. Henrick, who addressed the guests, and PA State Representative Tim Hennessey. The event theme, “Celebrate Service with Heart,” was a call to action that brought together stakeholders from the Greater Pottstown area and will directly impact 450 local families per month in need of Food Security, Housing Stability, and Supportive Services and Education.

The 2019 Caring Community Awards presented honored four individuals who have made significant contributions towards improving Food Security, Housing Stability, and Supportive Services and Education within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area. The 2019 Cluster Community Awards were presented to Valerie Arkoosh, MD, MPH, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and Ken Lawrence, Jr., Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. 

(Acceptance speeches can be heard here).

Additionally, the Helping Hands with Heart Awards were presented to Barbara Cooper, PCRC Community Meals volunteer and Dr. Myra Forrest, volunteer and supporter: past PCRC Board Member; Community Meals; past fall fundraising event Chair and member. The awards were presented by PCRC Executive Director Barbara Wilhelmy and PCRC Board President Mary Ann Glocker.

Check out the You Gotta Have Heart slideshow below and order your print of individual shots taken in front of our event banner for $10. A great holiday gift idea! Purchase high-resolution images of the event here.

YGHH 2019 Sponsors

2019 You Gotta Have Heart Slideshow!

Meet PCRC!

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Greetings friends,

As we enter the most colorful time of the year, there is a chill in the air, and with that here at the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) comes a renewed commitment to caring for those we serve. Colder nights and less abundant fresh foods means we all are tasked with making sure our neighbors have a warm place in which to shelter and enough food to sustain through the long winter months.

In this issue of Cluster Chronicles you will read about our recent successful event, “You Gotta Have Heart”; upcoming events such as the Pottstown CROP Hunger Walk and The Amazing Raise, and how you can be part of the fun to help our PCRC neighbors; learn how we are reaching out to seniors in the community to better serve their needs with an online food-ordering option (part of our SmartChoice program); our educational programs’ graduates; learn of the progress of our new Pilot Programs, our four new collaborators, enhancement of partnerships — specifically our Community Volunteer Leadership Program (CVLP) with Leadership Tri-County and funded by The HealthSpark Foundation with new possibilities for those we serve; as well as other exciting upcoming events and opportunities including information about our annual Holiday Program (toy and food box distribution), and how you can help!

I’m also excited to report PCRC is very close to occupancy in our newest space, “61”, working on final ADA projects. Stay tuned!

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,

Barb signature

 

 

 

Barbara Wilhelmy, LCSW
Executive Director

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Pottstown CROP Hunger Walk

Sunday, OCTOBER 13, 2019

Join TEAM “Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities”

 

Walk.  Give.  Change the World.

The Pottstown CROP Hunger Walk is a community-wide event sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations or groups to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world.
 
The Pottstown CROP Hunger Walk is the heart and “sole” of Pottstown. It is the only event that brings together all members of our community — young and old, all faiths and walks of life for a common goal — to end hunger, one step at a time! This year we invite you to join our team or gather a team and help end hunger and poverty in the Greater Pottstown area.
 
The Pottstown CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, October 13, 2019, will support the efforts of the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) to eradicate hunger in the Greater Pottstown area. A portion of the funds raised here in Pottstown will go to the hunger-fighting work of PCRC.
 
The 2019 CROP Hunger Walk will take place on Sunday, October 13, 2019, at First Presbyterian Church located at 750 N. Evans Street, Pottstown, PA, 19464. Registration will open at 1:30 pm and step-off time is 2:00 pm. Participants have the option of walking one or five miles.

Join team “Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities” here: crophungerwalk.org/pottstownpa/PCRC

 

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On October 15, 2019, hundreds of area residents are going to show their support for their favorite nonprofit during the Amazing Raise. On that day, every donation and donor we get will go further to help us claim our share thousands of dollars in matching funds. What we are really excited about is that this is going to be a big event, and everyone will be talking about who they’re supporting. Think “American Idol” and we’re in the try-outs but need your support to make it to the top.

You can help by doing these three things:

1. Mark October 15, 2019 on your calendar and add this link: amazingraisetricounty.org/PottstownCluster

2. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and help build the buzz.

3. Spread the word!  Tell your friends and family why you think they should help us with their donation. Please be our champion, and help us see it to the top!

We can’t wait to celebrate the difference your generosity will make on October 15, 2019!

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Order Online Seniors

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) is partnering with Manna on Main Street and The Open Link, reaching out to low-income seniors living in Montgomery County to offer its SmartChoice Food Pantry online-ordering option. The pilot program is called “Extending the Food Security Safety Net”. Seniors face many challenges, physically as well as emotionally, and the hope is this option will make life a little easier for them, especially in the winter months.

Approximately 30 of PCRC’s current clients utilize the program, 10 of whom work so can not visit the Pantry during normal business hours to use the SmartChoice kiosk. Extending the option to low-income seniors was the natural progression of the program as it is a more flexible option accomodating people with different needs. Volunteers will fulfill the grocery orders, and the orders will be distributed once a month for now.

SmartChoice is Food Pantry software that works to make the most of limited resources while maximizing the amount of food delivered to clients, the flexibility in hours and ways to deliver that food, and the dignity afforded to clients by offering as much choice in food as possible at the Pantry. The software was custom made specifically for food pantries, with easy-to-use touchscreen ordering, kiosk, mobile device, and at-home shopping convenience and real time inventory management and reporting. PCRC started using the SmartChoice software November 2016 with a generous implementation grant from the HealthSpark Foundation to get the system up and running. Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation has provided support for the past three years to underwrite our monthly costs of running the program.

An information session about the Extending the Food Security Safety Net pilot program was held October 9 at the Robert P. Smith Towers in Pottstown.

For more information about this program, contact Vicki Bumstead at vbumstead@pottstowncluster.org.

Smart Choice
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The Community Volunteer Leadership Program (CVLP), our new initiative in collaboration with Leadership Tri-County, was designed to provide individuals the education and foundational skills to serve as volunteer leaders with a nonprofit community. Ideal candidates were identified as people with lived experience utilizing nonprofit communities and/or health and human services.

Six individuals are participating in the initial program that started on July 23, meeting biweekly on Tuesdays from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. Graduation will be December 10.

To date, session agendas have included: Team Building at Green Allies/Althouse Arboretum; Leadership Development including “Goal Setting” with Adrean Turner (Career Fulfillment Expert), “The Foundation of Leadership” with Jenna Armato, and “Creating Powerful Connections”, also with Jenna Armato; Presentations and Workshops such as “Hidden Rules” with Ryli Myer (PCRC Community Engagement Specialist), “Volunteering and Workshop on Understanding Bias” with Ashley Faison (YWCA), and “I Pick Pottstown campaign of PAID, Inc.” to hear the latest on economic development in Pottstown with Peggy Lee-Clark (Executive Director of PAID, Inc.); Site Tours to Steel River Playhouse, Schuylkill River Greenways, and Pottstown Borough Hall; Discussion and Handouts on nonprofit board organization structure and committees; and Projects including “Steel River Marketing Project” (Ethics of Living Jim Crow) and a “Lifestyle Photo Project” that will be combined with sharing their life journey to make a positive impact and inspire others.

Along with our other recent partnerships — Manna on Main Street and The Open Link on “Extending the Food Security Safety Net”; and Philabundance and Habitat For Humanity Montgomery and Delaware Counties on “Ending Hunger. For Good.” — CVLP is enhancing our presence in the community with new positive impactful possibilities for those we serve.

For more information about this initiative, please contact communications@pottstowncluster.org.

CVLP Participants
CVLP Participants
CVLP Participants
CVLP Participants
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We are excited to present the first two groups of community members who successfully completed our new UP3 Community Cohort Workshop! Participants spent the past six weeks developing a better understanding of poverty, bridging gaps, and building social connections.

We invite you to join us  at our next UP3 Community Cohort Workshop to develop a better understanding of poverty, bridge gaps between people of different socioeconomic environments, and build relationships with one another in the community.

For more information, please contact Ryli Meyer at 610.970.5995 or RMeyer@pottstowncluster.org.

 


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First Baptist

Members of First Baptist Church in Pottstown​ held worship Sunday, September 29 at PCRC. They were welcomed by Executive Director Barbara Wilhelmy, who shared information about PCRC’s services and the positive impact those services have on the lives of people in Pottstown and the wider community. Blessings were offered by members at each stop in the building and members offered gifts to PCRC to help support its clients. Thank you First Baptist! We were honored to have you.

BarbWilhelmyFirstBaptist
First Baptist sign
First Baptist
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PCRC PANTRY PARTICULARS

oranges

Order Online Seniors

PCRC SmartChoice Food Pantry Online-Ordering Extended to Pottstown Seniors

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) is partnering with Manna on Main Street and The Open Link, reaching out to low-income seniors living in Montgomery County to offer its SmartChoice Food Pantry online-ordering option. The pilot program is called “Extending the Food Security Safety Net”. Seniors face many challenges, physically as well as emotionally, and the hope is this option will make life a little easier for them, especially in the winter months.

Approximately 30 of PCRC’s current clients utilize the program, 10 of whom work so can not visit the Pantry during normal business hours to use the SmartChoice kiosk. Extending the option to low-income seniors was the natural progression of the program as it is a more flexible option accommodating people with different needs. Volunteers will fulfill the grocery orders, and the orders will be distributed once a month for now.

SmartChoice is Food Pantry software that works to make the most of limited resources while maximizing the amount of food delivered to clients, the flexibility in hours and ways to deliver that food, and the dignity afforded to clients by offering as much choice in food as possible at the Pantry. The software was custom made specifically for food pantries, with easy-to-use touchscreen ordering, kiosk, mobile device, and at-home shopping convenience and real time inventory management and reporting. PCRC started using the SmartChoice software November 2016 with a generous implementation grant from the HealthSpark Foundation to get the system up and running. Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation has provided support for the past three years to underwrite our monthly costs of running the program.

An information session about the Extending the Food Security Safety Net pilot program was held October 9 at the Robert P. Smith Towers in Pottstown.

For more information about this program, contact Vicki Bumstead at vbumstead@pottstowncluster.org.

PCRC Monthly Challenge Flyer

PCRC Volunteer Voices

Volunteer

Volunteer Slider

Volunteer Information Session

PCRC held a volunteer information session on Wednesday, October 9, for prospective volunteers. The session included a screening of the new PCRC video, a presentation about current and upcoming volunteer opportunities, and a discussion about the impact and importance of volunteering at PCRC.

For those unable to attend, information about volunteering and a complete list of current and upcoming volunteer opportunities can be found below.

For more information about volunteering, please email: volunteer@pottstowncluster.org.

 

Why Volunteer at PCRC?

 In 2018, PCRC volunteers provided 21, 567 hours of service in all program areas. Volunteers are the heart of our organizations and a vital part of our ability to provide food security, housing stability, and supportive services and education to the families we serve within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area.

 

When you Choose to Volunteer You Will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the community’s critical needs in relation to poverty, food security, and housing stability.
  • Directly see the impact you are having on local people in need and the community as a whole.
  • Affect change as an individual and as a greater part of a team.

Volunteer Requirements

  • You must be 18 years or older and have a current child abuse, FBI and criminal clearance in order to volunteer.
  • Volunteers will complete a brief volunteer interview to match them with the appropriate opportunity.
  • Volunteers will complete a brief orientation/training to prepare them for assigned tasks.

 

 

Current PCRC Volunteer Opportunities

Delivery Drivers Needed in a Digital Effort to Improve Food Pantry Access

Looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity that allows you be a part of a hunger-fighting solution? We are in need of volunteer delivery drivers to deliver food to homes in a digital effort to improve food pantry access.

  • Delivery drivers who can be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Ability to report to PCRC at 9:30 am
  • Make 2-6 food deliveries to homes in the area
  • Must have reliable vehicle (using own vehicle)
  • Ability to lift 35 lbs (loading and unloading vehicles)
Food Service Program Volunteers

Opportunities are available in the Food Services Program Monday through Friday between 8:30 am–4:30 pm.

  • Drivers pick up food donations between 8:30 am–10:30 am
  • Warehouse volunteers unload donations and stocks shelves between 8:30 am–10:30 am (Must have the ability to lift 50 pounds)
  • Food is then distributed to families between 10:30 am–1:00 pm
  • Food is then sorted and scanned between 8:30 am–10:30 am and 1:00 pm–3:00 pm
Outreach Center Volunteers

Opportunities are available at the Outreach Center Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

  • Host/Hostess for Pantry — escort clients while shopping in the Food Pantry
  • Client Intake — enter client information on our database (must have strong computer skills)
  • Administrator/Receptionist — data entry, general administrative duties, answer phones, assist clients.
Community Meals Volunteers

Opportunities are available at various participating worship centers. Lunches are served from 11:45 am–1:15 pm and Dinners are served from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm.

  • Prepare community meals
  • Serve meals
  • Cleanup after meals
Mentor a UP3 Graduate

What will volunteer do? Mentor a UP3 graduate once a week for an hour for at least six months. Mentorship will be determined by mentor and mentee; Mentor can offer a set of individual skills they would like to offer (could be anything from cooking to time-management, budgeting, mindfulness skills, etc.)

What is required? Must complete UP3 Community Cohort for six weeks — only once a week; demonstrate empathy and ability to be open and understanding. Mentorship training opportunity is available for additional resource if interested.

Time commitment: One hour per week with a matched individual for at least six months.

Requirement: Must possess driver’s license.

Who to contact for more information about becoming a mentor?

Ryli Meyer
rmeyer@pottstowncluster.org
cell: 215-882-0952

 

For more information visit pottstowncluster.org/volunteer or contact volunteer@pottstowncluster.org.

PCRC Holiday Gift Distribution

PCRC Holiday Food Boxes and Gift Program

About the 2019 Holiday Program:  PCRC will be distributing 200 food boxes to families in Pottstown along with toys for up to 250 children (under the age of 16).

The toy distribution will be on Monday, December 9, and the last day of toy donations will be Friday, December 6. The food box distribution will be Wednesday and Thursday, December 18 and 19. The last day for food donations will be Friday December 13.

Volunteer Opportunity: Help sort and organize toys and food in preparation for the distribution to children and families.

Time commitment: The holiday program needs volunteers on Saturday, December 7, from 10:00 am-2:00 pm; Monday, December 9, from 9:00 am-3:00 pm (broken down into 2-hour shifts 9:00 am-11:00 am, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, 1:00 pm-3:00pm — only looking for 4-5 volunteers per time slot); and December 18 and 19 (both days from 9:00 am-1:00 pm. Also in 2-hour shifts).

For more information or to volunteer, contact volunteer@pottstowncluster.org.

A MESSAGE from the PCRC BOARD of DIRECTORS

Hand Only

PCRC Building 1240x300

How Time Flies…

PCRC’s successful fall fundraiser, “You Gotta Have Heart”, is behind us. Many thanks to the entire Board, Board Development Committee (Chair Liz Peters, Barbara Wilhelmy, Mary Ann Glocker, Rich Newell, Amy Lehman, Wendy Lucas, Lisa Kania, Janet Simmons, Merri Brown, Amanda Hoffman), and community for your generous and faithful support. The Board is now focusing on the 2020 budget, completing work on PCRC’s newest staff and educational space, “61”, and evaluating and planning how we move forward to continue our mission. This past year PCRC has piloted several initiatives to benefit more people to use our pantry, especially those who are unable to physically visit us, and has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware Counties and Philabundance for educational programs. The Governance Committee is continuing to focus on “Best Practices” so our Board can serve the mission and the people in Pottstown in the best way possible.

The Board thanks the community for its constant support in all its endeavors, and is always looking for new members to serve this wonderful and critical organization. If you or someone you know has an interest in serving, please contact volunteer@pottstowncluster.org.

A WORD from the PCRC DELEGATE ASSEMBLY

Christ Church Banner

PCRC Staff Members Continue to Volunteer for Community Meals

Staff members of the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities are continuing to volunteer for a once-a-month Community Meal luncheon at Christ Episcopal Church. It is a great way to be out in the community serving our neighbors in need and meeting new people, living into our mission. Our Delegate Assembly has been providing meals, five days a week, for many many years, and we are grateful for the partnership with area Worship Centers who are committed to the critical initiative. Won’t you join us in volunteering?

If interested in volunteering for this or any other volunteer opportunities at PCRC, contact volunteer@pottstowncluster.org.

Community Meals
Community Meals
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