Posts filed under: In the News

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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UP3 logo

On December 11, 2019, the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (PCRC) celebrated eight empowered UP3 (Understanding Poverty to Plan and Persevere) graduates during a ceremony and celebration at The Hill School Center for the Arts. It was great celebrating and hearing directly from our graduates and we couldn’t be more proud of them! 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. The program has made a positive difference in the lives of so many people over the years.

For more information click HERE or contact Ryli Meyer at 610.970.5995 or RMeyer@pottstowncluster.org.

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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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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.

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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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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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“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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