In essence, nonprofits and refrigerators are just there to serve. They were created and founded with the sole purpose of helping people in need – to provide food, service and support to the most vulnerable in society. Nonprofits and refrigerators rely on the kindness, generosity and kindness of others – people who have the means to give.
But since March, when the pandemic hit the country, aid from those who keep food closets and non-profit organizations has waned. And with COVID-19 once again strengthening its grip on the region… well, it is not only the residents of Montgomery and Chester counties who are struggling but also nonprofits and food cabinets.
The pandemic has caused the financial devastation of some – people who a year ago celebrated the holidays in their signature style – decorating, cooking, entertaining, traveling. But this year, with the power of a pandemic turning countless lives, many of these same people are wondering how they are going to feed their children.
And now refrigerators and nonprofits are in a very difficult position. Many of the people who found their hearts to donate money, food, and time to these organizations now find themselves in need of that service and support.
In May, LeeAnn Rooney, executive director of The Patrician Society in Norristown, told MediaNews Group that in the months from March to May, the number of families served by refrigerators doubled.
“In February we saw 480 families a month and now we are looking at 800 families a month,” said Rooney. “At first I thought (the demand) might be dropping a little. But people keep coming back. They just don’t know what to do because they’ve never been to the cupboard before. ‘Can I come back next week because I won’t have any more food?’ Usually we were once a month but lately, if they run out of food we will give them more food because we don’t want to see anyone hungry. You sometimes see the panic on people’s faces when you tell them it’s once a month. “
Now, during the holiday season, the panic that many people was experiencing was sure to increase.
And food kitchens and nonprofits face the uphill task of providing assistance and service to our vulnerable neighbors when they are struggling themselves.
For this reason, MediaNews Group is introducing the “Season of Caring” series across the region. Reporters in Lansdale, The Times Herald in Norristown, The Mercury in Pottstown, and the Daily Local News in West Chester work together to introduce readers to soup kitchens and not-for-profit organizations, and encourage help from those in a position to give – even if it’s just a little.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide stories, information and details on how and where to give to store kitchen shelves and help those who need them most when it all seems so dark.
The series coincides with the annual Operation Holiday newspaper program. In recognition of the food pantry’s suffering, the Operation Holiday Foundation will make a cash donation to the soup kitchen at the end of the fundraising and giving program.
In a difficult year, it’s “Season of Concern”. Find our stories about how you can help.
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