For the last two years, Shir Ami hosted a 5K and 1mile walk to benefit BCHG Penndel Food Pantry, I RUN FOR FOOD. These two events were held at lovely Tyler Park in Newtown. But according to one runner: there is a daunting hill to climb in the homestretch! (I did not run or walk. I had to take pictures. Seriously!) But there were many runners who turned out ready to take on the hill and run to: A. raise mo
o make sure neighbors in need have food to eat and B. win the race (hey they are runners right?) The event has raised $9500 in two years!
The funds support the second busiest food pantry in Bucks County! Last year we served over 28,000 individuals at our Penndel Food Pantry. Food goes out of the pantry almost as quickly as it comes in…donations make up 95% of food given out so you can see that support from the community is critical to feed our hungry neighbors in need.
Why are people hungry in Bucks County? There are many reasons; lack of a living wage job, loss of a job, loss of housing, the list is as varied as the families who use the pantry. I recently met a young mother with her two children under the age of five. Both she and her husband work but at the end of the month there is not enough to eat. So she uses the pantry to make sure the two girls do not go hungry. There are many young people aging out of foster care who do not have the family support most 18, 19 & 20 year olds , who are struggling to stay housed and employed. Whatever the reason, BCHG is committed to making sure there is food on the shelves for those families.
I RUN FOR FOOD is an important event for BCHG! And this year, Wrightstown Health and Fitness is joining in to sponsor the event! And the run has been moved to Washington Crossing State Park where, my runner friend tells me, the course is flat! Good news for new runners and motivating for advanced runners because you can shave time off your personal best!
The whole event is fun too!There is music, food, water, balloons, puppies and lots of kids full of energy. Participation is easy. Just use this link to sign up http://www.active.com/running/washington-crossing-pa/i-run-for-food-5k-2013. So sign up, get your friends to join you and make a difference for hungry families right here in Bucks County! You also get a swell t-shirt. You bet I will be there! Someone has to take pictures!
Here are all the details: Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 Registration Opens at 7:30 am, 5K Run Begins 9:00 am, 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk Begins 9:10 am Award Presentation @ 10:00 RESULTS/AWARDS: 1, 2 and 3 mile marked course. Finish line and timing service by RunBucks. Race results posted on site and within 2 days at www.runbucks.com Custom tile award will be presented to: Top 3 Male Runners Top 3 Female Runners, Top 3 Male Youth Runners Top 3 Female Youth Runners All registrants of the 5K and 1 mile fun run/walk will receive a T-shirt Proudly Presented by Shir Ami. Sponsors include Wrightstown Health and Fitness!
So run, jog or fun walk to help hungry families in your neighborhood! Run for food and help us make sure nobody goes hungry in Bucks County! We will see you there! I will have the camera~
In the end, we at BCHG are here to help families in distress make an U-turn and get their lives moving forward again. As a social service agency we do that by offering specialized services designed to connect families with resources and a plan for the future. At a recent workshop presented by Tammy Schoonover of Bucks County Opportunity Council, BCHG staff learned that most low-income and homeless families don’t plan for the future. Not because they are lazy or ignorant but because they don’t have hope- hope that anything will ever change. And the future is very bleak without hope.
BCHG works hard to provide tools and strategies to the families we serve but it is our community, our Bucks County community from Quakertown to Bristol, which provides the hope.
Folks like Christa Neilsen and her daughter Jonna who had this question: how do homeless children get birthday gifts? And then came up with a solution: Operation Birthday Box whose mission is “to make every child smile on their birthday. Join us in making birthdays happier & sweeter for kids living in Bucks County’s housing shelters.” That’s hope in a Birthday Box!
And a group like the Rotary Club of Central Bucks whose motto is “Service above Self.” They showed up this past Saturday at 8:30am and installed much needed super-sturdy shelving with lumber they donated at our Doylestown site. The shelving will be used for food pantry inventory so volunteers can make sure that families hungry in central Bucks have access to food. Now that’s hope built in!
Then there is St. Mary’s Medical Center. On a beautiful sunny afternoon we joined with St. Mary’s and their Family Resource Center to celebrate 20 years of service to the community. St. Mary’s sponsors 26 of our 55 shelter units because they are committed to ending homelessness in the community. From a tiny seed and the energy of a group of dedicated Sisters of St Francis, many lives have been changed and positively impacted. This is hope grown with faith!
Finally there are our volunteers. They are all, each one, hope that comes with a smile! So today is filled with hope and as the poet says: “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” If you want to be a partner in hope, reach out to Angela: firstname.lastname@example.org. We can make sure there is an opportunity for you to volunteer, run a food drive, decorate an apartment, work with a homeless child, help with a fundraising event or learn more about BCHG…in general to be “hope that comes with a smile!”
Bucks County is like any other community in our country; many families continue to struggle economically. Folks are working hard to make ends meet but sometimes food becomes a luxury rather than a necessity. That is where community food pantries like those operated by BCHG make a difference. Our pantries can help families make it until the next pay check by providing food for three days. Sometimes that is all a family needs; cereal, soup, peanut butter and day old bread will get them through.
Seems simple enough right? But there are so many families in need that at BCHG it takes between 40-80 volunteer hours at each site to make sure there is food in the pantries, shelves are stocked, food from donors like BJ’s or Bottom Dollar is picked up and delivered to the pantries, food from community members is weighed, sorted and stocked, pantry patrons are checked in and then there is parking- you can see it’s anything but simple!
What is simple though- our community truly understands the need and works so hard to make sure their neighbors are not hungry. They give food, time and money- without this support we would be standing in front of empty shelves every week. The Vice President of our Board of Directors, Kevin McPoyle shared this point with our community in letter to the editor published this week. We are proud of what we do and are grateful to be your neighbors.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A CARING COMMUNITY
Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 12:15 am
I have watched the “Buck Up Bucks County” campaign over the past few months and applaud the community
cohesion created and attention provided to an agency doing good, necessary work in our community.
Another great example of community members caring for others is the support offered by the Bucks County
Housing Group to those needing both shelter and food. Is there a need in this county? Consider the following
1. In 2012, 18,930 children were provided food, an increase of 14 percent over 2011.
2. In 2012, 22,171 adults were supported, an increase of 8 percent over 2011.
3. The overall increase in people served year to year is over 10 percent (45,828).
The housing group provided 119 tons of food through community donations. The food pantries are operating
at a high capacity because of great volunteers and the community groups, sports teams, civic groups and
church teams that give of themselves collecting food and stocking shelves to make sure there is always
something available for those who so desperately need it.
We should all recognize the Bucks County Housing Group staff and other organizations’ staffs for their selfless
service to others. We live in a special place in the world when we can call servants like those at the Housing
Kevin M. McPoyle
Test a Kubota Kommander and Histand’s Equipment in Doylestown will donate $5 to our Doylestown Community Food Pantry. Now doesn’t that sound like a good way to have fun and check out all the great farm/yard/estate equipment they sell?
A family owned and operated business located in Doylestown since 1927, Histand’s is dedicated to great customer experience and affordable prices. They sell used equipment too. PLUS they can service your tractor so it stays in tip top shape. And clearly they are community minded!
So take the time to get over to Histand’s on Saturday April 27 from 9am-2pm and if you don’t test drive a tractor, drop off a donation of food: dry cereal, spaghetti sauce or peanut butter- the food will help your neighbors in need!
Bucks County Housing Group is partnering with Monster Mini Golf in Feasterville for a FUN and different FUNdraiser!
Come to Monster Mini Golf anytime on:
Thursday March 14
Friday March 15
Saturday March 16
Sunday March 17
and either mention Bucks County Housing Group OR hand in the event flyer, and Monster Mini Golf will donate 20% of all golf admission proceeds that day from BCHG golfers.
Invite your friends and family!
This is a cool destination that offers 18 holes of indoor, glow- in-the-dark mini golf , an arcade with awesome games and redemption prizes, an on-course DJ, and two private party rooms for birthdays, corporate events, or group celebrations. The DJ plays music and holds contests and trivia while you golf. Fun for all ages!!!!!!!!
1045 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville, PA 19053
Time flies when you are having fun! We are well into 2013 and just about ready to celebrate Valentines Day. I would like to share a very different kind of love story with you. It’s about a homeless family and a generous donor. I’ll let you in on a secret; it has a happy ending.
F. & M. are a couple living in one of our shelters. They have two young children and last year they struggled to maintain housing. F. has a job but M. continues to search for employment. They could not make ends meet and when their car finally broke down, their only option was our shelter. They moved in at the end of summer.
F. continued to work at a job four miles away, borrowing a relatives aging, gas guzzling truck to get back and forth. They could barely afford the gas. Lois T. Case Manager at their shelter put them on the Wheelz2Work (W2W) waiting list in September and told them that there would be a long wait- we were not getting many donated vehicles. They were eighth on the list.
W2W is a car donation program- BCHG solicits used vehicles in running order, inspects and repairs the cars and then the cars are given to clients in need of transportation. And in case you don’t know, the ability to actually GET to a job or school is essential on the journey from homelessness to self sufficiency. But car donations have been slow; the economy has affected everyone. Up until October of 2012, BCHG had received only 2 vehicle donations. We received 1 more vehicle in October, 2 more in December and that that was it. After trimming the list down it looked like F. & M. would be waiting awhile; all the cars had been assigned to other families.
But then we received a call from Bruce Markley. And he had an interesting proposition. Bruce wanted to BUY a good used car and donate it to W2W. What a great idea! So Bruce researched cars and ended up purchasing a 1998 Acura TL Sedan with 157,000 miles on it. F. & M. were next on the list which was good news since the relative who had been lending the couple the truck wanted it back by February. F. was ready to hike to work.
We met at Express Auto Tags in Doylestown on January 28, 2013. It was a pretty straightforward transfer until we got out to look at the car. Bruce was so happy to show F. the car! He pointed out how some things worked, showed her how to adjust the seat. F. was looking a little overwhelmed but happy. I asked if I might take a picture and they posed.
And then it happened, F. reached up to Bruce to hug him in thanks. And their smiles were a beautiful sight to see. F. grateful in receiving a gift and Bruce gracious in giving a gift. There is a Maori saying : With my resources and your resources everyone will benefit. And that is love friends- true love. The kind we are called to share with each other.
F. & M. will be able to get to job interviews, school and take their children to doctors appointments now. Bruce, on the drive home, revealed that he had wanted to do this for awhile; really make an impact for a family. And he did.
Happy Valentines Day to all our friends who show their love through amazing donations of time, talent and treasure~Love is a beautiful thing!