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!”
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!
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!
At this time of year, we at BCHG are full of gratitude for our community. All through the year so many have done so much to help us provide the best care possible to the families we serve; our neighbors in need. And you know what friends- it takes a community to care for each other. And in caring for another- reaching out to lend a hand up to those struggling to meet basic needs- we are better. Not just as individuals but as a community- as neighbors.
There are many reasons why families end up homeless and hungry. For the working poor missing a paycheck or an extended illness can spell disaster. We just received a request from Mike Fitzpatrick’s office- they are working with an elderly veteran living in his car. He needs some help with housing. We can help thanks to funding through a grant from Janssen Pharmaceutica. There is so much need right here where we are and of course BCHG, or any other social service agency can not take the place of a compassionate community reaching out to those with least.
So at BCHG we have an “attitude of gratitude”. We are grateful for the many many folks who donated food for the pantries- over 80,000 pounds since the end of October. We are grateful to everyone donating gifts, like The Harvest Financial Group, Huntingdon Valley Bank, for the upcoming holiday. We are grateful to those groups like, Our Lady of Guadaloupe, Temple Ohev Shalom, The Delaney Family, who are hosting wonderful holiday parties for our families.
We are grateful to folks running coat drives to make sure our families are warm this winter. We are grateful to St Paul’s Episcopal for hosting a very successful 19th Annual Christmas in Doylestown House Tour and Boutique to benefit our Doylestown Shelter. We are grateful to our non-profit partners like United Way Bucks, Bucks County Opportunity Council and Deserving Decor, who partner with us to move families from homelessness to housing.
Melody Beattie writes: Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. An attitude of gratitude makes the holidays brighter and shines light on the future. We are part of such a compassionate and caring community; and for that, we are truly grateful.
Power is finally back!!
During Super Storm Sandy we lost power and communications at most of our sites, and are now fully up and running – including the 3 food pantries. Although the main offices remained closed all last week, our dedicated personnel and volunteers continued to work.
I want to thank you all for your service during and following the storm. It is evident that our staff remained committed to providing care and comfort to our clients, tenants, and residents despite ongoing personal storm-related issues at home. We want to acknowledge and thank those of you who continued to keep appointments, attend meetings, visit clients, deliver lanterns, batteries, food, ice, and coolers, assess and repair damages, work from home, and/or come into the cold, dark offices to retrieve records and emergency supplies.
Individual volunteers and community groups helped clear debris and restock our pantries so we could help the influx of storm survivors who showed up at our doors needing help. We appreciate your generosity and support in assisting with our Bucks County neighbors.
Thank you most sincerely!!!
Nancy Szamborski , Executive Director
Hurricane Sandy has devastated the lives of so many; families have lost their homes and businesses. Many in the region are struggling without power, water, heat, gas stations are running out of gas and folks are tired.
Doylestown Borough was out of power until yesterday with many in Doylestown Township are still without power. I just saw on Facebook that The Merchants of Doylestown and the Doylestown Business and Community Alliance will host a “Fill the Bus” event on First Friday to collect food for those in need after Hurricane Sandy. That food will be delivered to BCHG’s Doylestown Community Food Pantry to be shared with those in need. Several churches participating in THE CHURCH LEAVES THE BUILDING local mission initiative are still coming Sunday to several of our properties to complete service projects. And yesterday at the Doylestown Shelter, friends showed up with hot meals, coffee and hot chocolate for the families without power, water and heat.
I continue to be amazed at the giving heart of this community. Even those so affected by the storm are ready to lend a helping hand. Merchants without power for a week ready to help others. Churches without power are still planning to serve others and so many people have offered food and support at all our sites- think about it; it is enough to make a person cry. Thank you is not enough but know that those two words are spoken from a place of true gratitude. BCHG will be at First Friday tonight to say thank you in person with a hug and maybe some grateful tears! And let’s FILL THAT BUS!
Our main office in Wrightstown is still without power as of 8pm November 1st. PECO has indicated that the power may be restored late tomorrow evening. All shelters except Doylestown have power. BCHG staff has limited access to emails and will work to answer emails and provide clarity around planned events due to take place over the next five days. Thank you for your understanding. Check back here for updates.
Are you a road warrior? Do you like to get out on those beautiful Bucks County country roads under your own steam? Well you can have fun and be part of a food drive for BCHG! Join DOYLESTOWN BIKEWORKS first annual CRANKSGIVING charity food drive! NOVEMBER 11th, 2012 11 AM Start – Central Bucks West High School
What is Cranksgiving? It’s a race…of sorts. Each rider gets a list of items that is to be purchased from different grocery stores. First ones back, win prizes. All of the food goes to our local food bank. There is no entry fee, you just pay for the food items you purchase ($15-$20). You’re going to ride anyway, right? Just pick up some food along the way and help us help some people in need! Riders will compete in a scavenger hunt style race. You will need to bring a bike, a lock and $15 to $20 for food items.
Thanks to everyone who saddles up for this unique fundraiser and a BIG THANK YOU to Doylestown Bikeworks for coming up with this imaginative way to help the community AND have fun!
A couple of months ago a reporter from BBC America contacted BCHG. David Botti is doing an election year piece on Levittown- the story of the American dream shaped sixty years ago by William Levitt. Over the course of weeks we had conversations about the poor and working poor in Levittown and David visited the Penndel SHP site. This short film stated the truth of hunger in Bucks County: the people who are food insecure, the organizations that are struggling to keep the pantry shelves filled and community members who give what they can to make sure their neighbors do not go hungry. Please watch it and pass it on… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19762410.