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Holiday Food

2021 Holiday Food and Toy Program

Welcome to our annual Holiday Program. This year, our goal is to provide holiday food boxes for families and toys for up to 250 children; aged 16 and under.

 

For Our Families:

Deadline to Register is November 19, 2021

This year, we are serving families and children who live in the 19464 zip code area. We are asking anyone interested in receiving a holiday food box or toys to please sign up online below. Also, instead of offering in-person toy selection and shopping at our Outreach Center, we will be pre-packaging the toy bags based on your toy selection on the registration form. After you register, we will contact you to schedule a date and time to pick up your food and/or toys at the Outreach Center located at 57 N. Franklin Street in Pottstown.

If you have questions, please contact Anissa at ajones@pottstowncluster.org or call 610-970-5995 to receive more information.

Sign Up!

For Our Donors:

Are you interested in donating toys and/or food items to support our 2021 Holiday Food and Toy program?

To donate food items, please review our needed food item list and contact Anissa at ajones@pottstowncluster.org or call 610-970-5995 to sign up as a food donor.

Holiday Food Items:

green beans (400)
sweet potatoes (200)
mashed potatoes (200)
corn (200)
gravy (400)
cranberry sauce (400)
macaroni and cheese (200)
stuffing (200)

To donate age appropriate toys for children 16 and younger or gift cards for our older children, please contact Anissa at ajones@pottstowncluster.org or call 610-970-5995 to sign up as a toy donor.

All food and toys donations will need to be delivered to the Pottstown Cluster Outreach Center the week of December 17. 

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Join us online for a virtual celebration on Thursday, October 7 from  7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Event Link:
pottstowncluster.org/virtualevent2021

Due to the pandemic, the Pottstown Cluster has made the decision to move our biggest annual fundraising event online. Everyone is invited to tune into this free annual event, which will include a opportunities to financially support our mission of providing food security and housing stability in our community as well as a behind the scenes look at the impact your support is having on our work and in the lives of those we serve.

 

A great way to help us spread the word about our work is to consider hosting a watch party!

What is a Watch Party?
A watch party is a small gathering of people either at your home or via Zoom. Prior to the 7 p.m. start time of our virtual event, we invite you to gather with friends, family or colleagues to watch the event together! You can either setup your TV to stream the virtual event or you can connect your laptop to your TV.

Why Host a Watch Party?
A watch party is a great opportunity to share your passion for the Pottstown Cluster! As a group, you can make a positive difference in the lives of your neighbors in need. 

Don’t forget about the “PARTY” part of a WATCH PARTY!
Here’s your chance to have some fun and get creative!  You can select a theme, offer fun appetizers, and even play games!

 

DONATE

Your valuable support makes a difference in contributing to the general operating expenses of the Pottstown Cluster. Your donation will help assure the fundraising success of this annual event that supports our services throughout the year, and will be especially important with the absence of ticket sales.

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Our staff, board, volunteers, and community are getting ready to come together on Wednesday, July 14 for an outdoor Red, White, and Blue Anniversary Ice Cream Social! All are welcome to join us to celebrate ten years at our Outreach Center with a treat on Wednesday, July 14 from 2 PM to 5 PM.

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The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities participates in the Community Connection Project (CCP) as a Community Service Partner to Pottstown Hospital – Tower Health. The CCP is an Accountable Health Communities Model funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The project works to screen Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries’ and connect individuals to local resources, such as the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities for any food related needs.

This project is supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $4.5M with 100 percent funded by CMS/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CMS/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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On Friday, February 26, 2021,  the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities celebrated Victoria Bumstead’s retirement from the Pottstown Cluster. Vicki has been a Pottstown Cluster employee since October 2010. She served initially as the Clothes Closet and Volunteer Coordinator and eventually took over the role of Outreach Center Director, managing the Food Services Programs. Under her leadership, the food service programs have grown and the Pottstown Cluster’s presence as a collaborative food provider in the region has been increasingly known. During her tenure, the Pottstown Cluster became the first ReDistribution Organization in Montgomery County; she converted the pantry’s database to SmartChoice, resulting in establishing an online inventory system for food services and an online ordering system for client food access; and has developed a food delivery system, offering better service to those requiring food assistance. Her commitment to the Pottstown Cluster and the food system in the region has been tremendous and will be greatly missed. All of us at the Pottstown Cluster are excited for her retirement and the next chapter of her story. 
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The 2020 Toyota Hunger Relief On Demand X1 Video Series Features The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities in Partnership with Philabundance to Raise Awareness About Food Insecurity Throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area

 

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, as a Philabundance partner, is featured in the 2020 Toyota “Hunger Relief” On Demand X1 three-part video series to raise awareness about food insecurity throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. The three-part video series is available in a “Hunger Relief” folder in a Toyota On Demand X1 destination and Xfinity subscribers can use their X1 voice remotes to say “TOYOTA” to learn more.

The videos are also available below.

Part I – What is Hunger?

Have you ever wondered what the face of hunger really looks like?

Part II – Bold New Strategies

Take a look at the “Bold New Strategies” of “Ending Hunger. For Good.” – a partnership program between the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, Philabundance, and Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware Counties. “Ending Hunger. For Good.” provides critical services and supports to improve food security and financial stability as well decrease the number of people facing hunger throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. “It’s not just about handing out food, it’s about helping people create stability in their lives through counseling services, life coaching, education about how to manage and save money, and building resources,” Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities Executive Director Barbara Wilhelmy said.

Part III – “Hunger Relief Partners”

Take a look at the local Tri-State Dealers Association 13th annual Toyota Haul Away Hunger Event which not only provided nearly half-million pounds of food to Philabundance in 2019, but also raised awareness about the severity of food insecurity throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. At least 90,000 people will benefit from the truckloads of food, but organizers said “it’s just a fraction of the people who need help in the region.” “There are about 700,000 people who require food and are food insecure. Of that, about 60% of them have somebody in that household that is working,” former Philabundance Executive Director Glenn Bergman said at the time. The majority of these food insecure households are the working poor.

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MontCo Anti-Hunger Network is conducting large scale, weekly food distributions (between June 4, 2020 and July 2, 2020) in collaboration with the county’s Department of Public Safety and RSVP. At each event they are hoping to connect 1,500 households to USDA Farm to Families food boxes containing produce and mixed dairy products. Distributions will alternate between Willow Grove Park Mall and the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks for the next five Thursdays. Visit MontCoAntiHunger.org for more information.

 

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Hi Friend,

During any crisis, it’s easy to turn inwards and focus on our own needs. However, many people from our community have been reaching out to us to support our mission as we work to provide food security and housing stability to local seniors and families in need during this critical time. This has been an important reminder of the power of community and the fact that working together is our community strength in Pottstown.

We want to recognize those who are helping others and working to keep us all safe. Please join us in recognizing your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members who are doing great things for others by using #COVIDCaringPottstown on your social media posts. We will be doing the same to keep you updated on the many acts of kindness we are receiving!

“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors”- Fred Rogers

 

#COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

Our volunteers and employees have been busy helping us meet the growing demand by packing food boxes, distributing food, and restocking shelves.

 

We appreciate all of our volunteers especially those who continue working vigorously to ensure our neighbors struggling with hunger do not have to worry about how they will feed themselves or their families. Thank you!

Jill Dennin, Chair, Pottstown Cluster of Religious Commuities Development Committee, Board member, and volunteer

#COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

As unemployment increases at a record-setting pace, we are seeing an uptick in the number of people and families who need our services. Knowing that our community is going through a tough time, many local community members and businesses have quickly and generously stepped in to help us respond to the growing demand and ensure we can continue to provide food security to our at-risk neighbors, as well as families who are experiencing lost wages and layoffs.

 

Our #COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN community makes our work possible!

#COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

Working to Distribute and Deliver Food in Safe and Convenient Ways

Recent donations of new reusable bags from RednersGiantPottstown GoFourthVictory Bank, and First Quality Healthcare Group have helped ensure we can continue to distribute and deliver food in a safe and convenient way. A very special thank you to Eric White, Amy Wolf, Jennifer Delp, Deb Lee, and Jane Perkins for their support.

Keith Kovach at JB Supply, Inc. prevented us from experiencing a delay in food deliveries by allowing us to use their site and truck with needed lift gate. Also, Charlie Brian from Seneca Distributions, LLC generously helped us move a large quantity of food to the Pottstown YMCA.

COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

Our dedicated volunteers have been busy helping us meet the growing demand by packing food boxes and bags, distributing food, and restocking shelves. Steve Palopoli, Sean Sullivan, Cyndi and Frank Cebular, Bill and Jan Morris, Jill Dennin, and Mary Blythe have been volunteering at our pantry each week since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.  Also, Julianne Dallas and Kathy & Bob Haines have been delivering food boxes to homebound families and older at-risk adults who are unable to pick up food. They have been delivering food to our neighbors as volunteers for a while now, but really stepped up to help us during the COVID-19 crisis. We could not reach all of our families and seniors or continue to do what we do without them!  Also, Rob and Paula Bickelman and Liz Peters have been consistently helping us at school sites each week to provide additional household food for families as we work to ensure our kids and their families are fed and can focus on health and growth, not hunger. We could not do it without them!

We appreciate all who remain dedicated and are currently working vigorously to ensure our neighbors struggling with hunger do not have to worry about how they will feed themselves or their families.

#COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

Thanks to our friends at J.J. Ratigan Brewing Company and The Blue Elephant, we were able to distribute food and feed 1,500 first responders of Pottstown and surrounding communities! Donations were collected by Tri-County Community NetworkUS Foods, and Hurter Food Distributors. Watch the news coverage on WFMZ here.

COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

The Alley on High Street, an open air space focused on fostering a community to gather, came up with a creative way to show their support when the COVID-19 crisis started. They sold “WASH YOUR HANDS” T-SHIRTS for $20 and donated the proceeds to support our mission and work.

#COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

RocksStar Roller Derby found a unique way to follow social distance guidelines and provide entertainment to raise funds to support our local COVID-19 response  efforts. The group hosted Facebook Stream-A-Thon and asked viewers to make a donation to support the Pottstown Cluster.  All donors were even entered into a raffle for a chance to win a variety of local gift cards!

Without a sense of CARING, there can be no sense of COMMUNITY. 

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WORKING TOGETHER

Our community has stepped up big time to offer food resources to those in need. To harness the power of this collective action and to stretch the food resources beyond the initial crisis, we have agreed to coordinate the food insecurity resources in our area. Having a single point of contact will lessen duplication of service and will allow resources to stretch further. A single contact will also spread the services to be available over many days rather than all at once. If you are a business, organization or individual community member that is considering offering a community meal, food collection or other food related efforts, please consider contacting us at communications@pottstowncluster.org


OUR COVID-19 CRISIS RESPONSE

We are committed to providing food security and housing stability to our at-risk neighbors and families experiencing lost wages and layoffs. As unemployment increases at a record-setting pace, we are seeing an uptick in the number of people and families who need our services. The help and support from our dedicated employees, volunteers, board, donors, delegates, and community have allowed us to:

  • Continue to keep our public community food pantry open and operating as safely as possible during this challenging time.
  • Support and protect our most vulnerable by delivering food to older adults and high-risk individuals so they can remain safe in their homes.
  • Respond to increased community need by supporting the local school food distributions with extra food for households in need
  • Work with partners to coordinate food security efforts throughout the Pottstown area and provide families with additional food resources. Stabilize vulnerable families and prevent homelessness by offering eviction prevention and social service supports through our Pottstown Housing Resource Center (HRC).

 

OUR #COVIDCaringPottstown Community Makes Our Work Possible

Many have been reaching out to support our mission as we work to provide food security and housing stability to our at-risk neighbors and families in need during this critical time. The desire to help is an important reminder of the power of community and the fact that working together is our community strength in Pottstown.

As we recognize those who are helping others and working to keep us all healthy and safe, we ask that you also join us in recognizing your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members who are doing great things for others by using #COVIDCaringPottstown on your social media posts. We will be doing the same to keep you updated on the many acts of kindness we are receiving! Read more about are some of the acts of kindness we have received over the past few weeks here: OUR #COVIDCaringPottstown Community.

 

VOLUNTEER

Anyone who is interested in volunteering to support the Pottstown Cluster Outreach Center operations or Community Meals efforts can email volunteer@pottstowncluster.org.

 

GIVING

A secure online contribution HERE will help us respond to the increasing demand for our services due to the COVID-19 crisis. Your support today and will ensure we can meet the growing needs of our community both today and tomorrow.

 

THE 10TH ANNUAL SIGNATURE PAGE SHOWCASE OF SUPPORT
Please join us in publicly thanking those who have continued serving the community at the most important of times. This year’s page promises to be something very special. While the page is always a demonstration of your commitment to ending hunger in our community, this year’s page will offer an opportunity to thank our volunteers, employees, and local heroes who have been supporting the Pottstown Cluster’s response to COVID-19. Learn more or donate to sign here: 2020 SIGNATURE PAGE SHOWCASE OF SUPPORT.

 

Gifts-in-Kind
Our current need is a bulk supply of new reusable bags and new unused plastic bags to pack food in for distribution. To help with this, please email volunteer@pottstowncluster.org or call 610-970-5995. At this time we are not accepting in-kind donations of food or self-care items from the public as we are limiting all that comes into the building to assure we are taking every precaution we can. As of now, we are focusing on our resources and ability to secure large orders of items that meet distribution safety standards. If you have any interest in supporting this effort, you can do so HERE.

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