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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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The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities Receives a $5,000 TD Charitable Foundation Grant Award
to provide direct rental assistance for households facing eviction in Montgomery County

POTTSTOWN, PA, May 2020– The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities is the recipient of a $5,000 TD Charitable Foundation grant award to provide direct rental assistance to households facing eviction in Montgomery County through the Eviction Prevention and Intervention Coalition (EPIC).

The EPIC program is designed to stabilize vulnerable families and individuals in Montgomery County who are facing eviction by providing them with free legal support and connection to the long-term financial and social supports needed to prevent future housing instability. “The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities is extremely honored to receive a grant from the TD Charitable Foundation to provide direct rental assistance for households facing eviction. Evictions are often the cause of poverty and job loss, not a result of them. With these funds, we will be able to address the significant and devastating impact that evictions have on vulnerable populations in Montgomery County,” said Barbara Wilhelmy, Executive Director of the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities.

Case management services carried out by the Pottstown Cluster prevents eviction in the short term and connects the household to community supports necessary to maintain long term housing stability. The Pottstown Cluster also supports the program with a Housing Stability Coach working in conjunction with legal representation on-site at the Magisterial District Court in Norristown, PA. A Housing Stability Plan and a budget is also created for each eligible participating household. In 2019, the Pottstown Cluster provided services to 163 households.

This grant contribution supports TD’s longstanding commitment to community enrichment through The Ready Commitment, a multi-year platform that actively promotes inclusivity, economic vitality, environmental well-being and health, enabling people of all backgrounds to succeed in a rapidly changing world. For information, visit tdbank.com/corporate-responsibility/the-ready-commitment

About Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities

For over 50 years, through interfaith cooperation, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities 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. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation is available at TDBank.com.

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DSC00920

We are saddened to report the passing of Allan N. Altschull, on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Mr. Altschull served on the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities Board of Directors, from 2009 through 2016. He served as both the Vice President for one year and as President for four years. During his tenure on the board, he helped the Pottstown Cluster establish a permanent presence in Pottstown, through the purchase of both our properties on North Franklin Street and the renovation and opening of the Cluster Outreach Center in July 2011.

Mr. Altschull’s passion for the Pottstown Cluster’s mission was repeatedly demonstrated by his ability to introduce members of the community to and engage them in our work. Whether that was through finding new board members or new supporters, either financially or through in-kind service, he brought many friends to the organization, helping to grow and sustain our presence in the community.

We were fortunate to have Mr. Altschull participate in our President’s Plaque Reception earlier this year, where recent Board Presidents, including Mr. Altschull, were recognized for their service and dedication. The Pottstown Cluster was blessed by his service over the years and his impact to the organization will have a lasting impression. We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Altschull’s family on his passing.

Allan N. Altschull’s Obituary can be read here.

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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
Barbara Wilhelmy, LCSW, Executive Director, Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities and Valerie Arkoosh, MD, MPH Chair, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners
Barbara Wilhelmy, LCSW, Executive Director, Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities and Kenneth Lawrence, Jr. Vice Chair, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners

#COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

At our 8th annual “You Gotta Have Heart” event in September, we honored our 2019 Cluster Community Awardees, Valerie Arkoosh, MD, MPH Chair, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and Kenneth Lawrence, Jr. Vice Chair, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners for their significant contributions towards improving Food Security, Housing Stability, and Supportive Services and Education within and beyond the Greater Pottstown area.

 

We would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank our Commissioners for keeping us well informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Our commissioners—in coordination with the CDC—continue to respond to the evolving situation in Montgomery County to keep us safe and help detect and slow the spread of the virus. We applaud their responsiveness and commitment to keeping us informed and—most importantly—prioritizing our health and safety during this time.

#COVIDCARINGPOTTSTOWN

Thanks to a generous Pottstown family, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities has been given a $5,000 match opportunity to help struggling families and seniors in this time of crisis. Thanks to our community’s generosity and willingness to help, we are over half way to our goal.

 

But we need your help to reach our goal and continue this work. You can support the Pottstown Cluster’s response to COVID-19 through April 30 and your gift will be doubled – helping the Pottstown Cluster meet the need today and tomorrow.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities Receives a $25,000 Connelly Foundation Grant Award
to Support Renovations at New Education and Administration Center to Bring Essential Services to Residents of the Greater Pottstown Area 

 

POTTSTOWN, PA, April 3, 2020 – The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities is the recipient of a $25,000 Connelly Foundation grant award in support of renovations needed to achieve occupancy of their new Education and Administration Center located at 61 North Franklin Street in Pottstown Pennsylvania.

 

While the renovation project is currently nearing completion, the award will sponsor the building’s kitchen and fund final projects needed to achieve occupancy and preserve the building’s exterior. “The most compelling reason to complete the work is that it will allow us to provide essential programs with several community partners, bringing supplemental education and support services to those we serve – services that have not been readily available to residents in our area, but which will be possible in this new space. This renovation work will have a multiplier effect in benefit in this community where the need is so great,” said Barbara Wilhelmy, Executive Director of the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities.

 

Essential services for residents of the Greater Pottstown area include a pilot program with Philabundance and Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware County on financial literacy for working families who are receiving food through the pantry at the Pottstown Cluster’s Outreach Center. The goal for participants is to improve their overall financial and housing stability, thus eliminating their need to use the pantry. This end goal is to not just reduce hunger, but eliminate hunger for these working families. Additionally, a partnership with HopeWorx Inc., TIME, to support individuals who have had experience with the judicial system and are seeking to improve their future stability upon re-entering the community. These collaborations and services would not be possible without access to this new space.

 

About Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities

For over 50 years, through interfaith cooperation, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities 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. The Pottstown Cluster 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.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

COVID-19 Crisis: An Important Announcement Regarding Food Security in the Greater Pottstown Area

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities meets the
growing needs of our local at-risk seniors, as well as, families who are experiencing lost wages and layoffs

 

POTTSTOWN, PA, March 24, 2020 – The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, as an organization providing essential services for vulnerable populations, will continue to provide access to food and essential items, as well as, coordinate the food insecurity resources in the Greater Pottstown area to meet the growing needs of our local at-risk seniors and families who are experiencing lost wages and layoffs.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities is responding by providing food for those in need and helping to shelter those who are homeless. “Our employees and volunteers are working vigorously to ensure our neighbors struggling with hunger do not have to worry about how they will feed themselves or their families. The Pottstown Cluster Outreach Center will continue to operate as long as we can safely distribute food and then, after the crisis is over, we will continue to serve the Greater Pottstown area by providing those in need with food, housing, and support so they can improve their overall stability,” said Barbara Wilhelmy, PCRC Executive Director.

Before COVID 19, about 11 percent of the Montgomery County population was considered food insecure, meaning they didn’t have consistent access to sufficient food.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic will drastically and quickly increase this percentage. “Those we serve struggle with hunger and many do not even know where their next meal will come from, in usual circumstances. In these very unusual circumstances, we have prepared to have food available for those who need it and are open to serve them,” said Victoria Bumstead, PCRC Outreach Center Director.

The recent concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic have reminded the Pottstown Cluster and Greater Pottstown area residents that our community is stronger when we work together. To harness the power of collective community action and to stretch the food resources beyond the initial crisis, the Pottstown Cluster has 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.

For up-to-date information from the Pottstown Cluster about how to help the vulnerable populations in our community during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit pottstowncluster.org/covid19foodsecurity. Anyone who is interested in donating to the Pottstown Cluster to provide food security for our local at-risk seniors, as well as families who are experiencing lost wages and lay offs can do so here: pottstowncluster.org/covid19requestforsupport or send their contribution to the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, 57 North Franklin Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. Anyone who is interested in volunteering to support the Pottstown Cluster Outreach Center operations or Community Meals efforts can email volunteer@pottstowncluster.orgIf 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 communications@pottstowncluster.org for coordination and planning.

 

About Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities

For over 50 years, through interfaith cooperation, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities 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.

 

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