Author: Kimberly Kremer (Read her blog Fishbowl Living at www.fishbowlliving.com)

Today, we’re taking Local Market Monday in a slightly different direction.  This past Saturday, the Boy Scouts delivered 1.1 million plastic bags to most of the homes in the greater Philadelphia area.  Now, don’t just stuff it into the plastic bag recycling bin at Giant or use it to line the cat litter pan.  On Saturday, November 20th, they will be coming back around after 9 a.m. to pick up those bags and hopefully you will have filled them with food.  How much easier can it be?!  We are all beginning to shop for our holiday meals so why not add a couple of extra cans or boxes of non-perishable food items to your cart so we can fill up those bags? Be thoughtful about what you purchase.  Don’t just grab ten cans of lima beans because they are the cheapest or toss in those boxes of Stove Top Stuffing that you’ve been shoving to the back of your pantry because they expired three years ago.  If you wouldn’t feed it to your family then please think twice about giving it to someone else. Someday, it just might be your family in that food line depending on the generosity of strangers for your next meal.

About the Author: Kim Kremer is a formerly reluctant pastor’s wife living in the fishbowl and blogging about it atwww.fishbowlliving.com.  Without her four kids, a perpetual mountain of laundry and a need to cook around three food allergies, she’d probably be bored…or perhaps well rested?!


EDITOR’S NOTE: There are a number of great local churches and organizations who continue to be instrumental in helping local families in need during the holidays and throughout the calendar year.  If you’re looking to give back to our community, here are a few organizations, programs and events that we can recommend (please feel free to post others following this article):

The Scouting for Food Drive runs from November 14th-21st, 2009. Scouts and Venturers will be dropping off door hangers on Saturday, November 14th and are then asked to come back and pick up food bags at the houses where they left the door hangers on Saturday, November 21st. Every unit in the Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America should be participating in this drive. We have ordered enough door hangers to provide for 15 door hangers for each Cub Scout, Boy Scout or Venturer to distribute.

Good Samaritan Shelter – The Good Samaritan Shelter provides emergency and transitional housing and other critical services to homeless men in the Greater Phoenixville Area. (Be sure to attend their elegant fundraiser “A Taste of Phoenixville” to be held January 20th, 2011 at Franklin Commons.)

St. Peter’s Food Pantry – The Food Pantry clients come from Phoenixville and the surrounding areas. Ten years ago when the Food Pantry first opened its doors, they served roughly 20 families. Today they serve 50 to 60 families with approximately 22 children. During the 2008 Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays we served just over 100 families.

St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter – Located in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter is an emergency shelter assisting homeless families in South Eastern Pennsylvania to get back on their feet.

Mom’s House – Mom’s House provides free, safe and secure childcare from six weeks up to four years of age,  so single moms can attend school full time (high school, GED, technical school or college). Mom’s House feeds each child nutritious meals, provide clothing, diapers and other essentials, and prepare toddlers for pre-school.  They are a state-licensed daycare operation.

Chester County Food Bank – The Chester County Food Bank provides assistance and food to help nearly 32,000 local households each month.   They distributed over 1,000,000 pounds of food per year to over 65 organizations that include; food cupboards, feeding sites, non-profit organizations and shelters. (One local business accepting donations for Chester County Food Bank is Snyder Family Chiropractic.)

United Way of Chester County – Holidays of Caring 2010 Volunteer Projects are available through the United Way.  Many partner agencies have holiday volunteer opportunities to help share the spirit of caring with those in need.  For a complete list of projects for Chester County visit the website.  Locally, Phoenixville Area Children’s Learning Center will be holding a Thanksgiving Feast on November 23rd at Franklin Commons.  For details, contact Pat Tindell at paclc1@aol.com.

Phoenixville Area Community Services – Since 1972, PACS has offered support, aid and hope for residents in our community who need information and direction as well as emergency aid.  Ways you can help: donate food, sponsor a food drive at your business or church, make a cash donation, or volunteer.

The Phoenixville Hospital Auxiliary – The group meets six times per year and organizes numerous fundraising projects like the Holiday Craft Show and lobby sales. The group also holds two social functions per year. To join the Auxiliary, call 610-933-2638.

Also, check out On Tap Network who will be hosting a local event to support a local family in need (see our website for details).  Additionally, event partners have offered to allow their store or business to be drop-off locations for non-perishable donations that will go to Chester County Food Bank.  (Phoenixville drop-off locations: KMS Design Group, Great Adventure Boot Camp, and All Things Primitive.)

First Presbyterian Church hosts an annual Thanksgiving Dinner. “Meals on Wheels” doesn’t deliver on Thanksgiving Day and many of the people they normally serve will be left without a hot meal on the day we feast with family and friends. More than 30 years ago First Church began preparing and serving Thanksgiving Dinner to anyone who wanted to come (and delivered take-out meals to those who were housebound.) If you, or anyone you know will be alone this Thanksgiving please join us for a noontime meal. Please contact the office to make a reservation. OR if you want to help us make Thanksgiving special for someone else, please contact the church. Please let the church office know if you can help set-up the day before, deliver “take-out meals or help with clean-up on Thanksgiving Day. We still need turkeys, pies or monetary contributions too! Jewell Baker – 484-459-3585 of jewell.e.baker@qvc.com

Christ Community Church – For the first two weeks in December, CCC’s women’s ministry will be stopping all regular activities so that they can “bring Christmas to our community with God’s love through hands of service.” More than 25 different service projects working with 10 ministries and organizations across Chester County.  They will be cleaning, painting, stuffing, baking, shopping, stocking, delivering, organizing, making blankets, supply baskets, gift bags, favors, and more.

Christ Community Church – In partnership with World Impact, CCC will be providing 50 Thanksgiving meals to families in Chester.  The church has already had great response to this need. Please sign up to provide the supplies for a whole meal (no cooking involved), delivery November 20th.  Additionally, in partnership with The Salvation Army in Coatsville, CCC will be serving about 350 meals to the people of Coatesville on November 21. The biggest needs still to be met are for cooked turkeys, cooked sweet potatoes, set up on November 18 & 19, transport on November 20, childcare on November 21. If you are interested in helping with any off these needs, please email Kim at kbeazley@VisitCCC.com.

Samaritan’s PurseOperation Christmas Child is a program in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse.  Local churches and organizations collect shoe boxes filled with small gifts and supplies for children around the world.  National collection week runs from November 15th – 22nd.  Visit the Operation Christmas Child website for local collection points.

Angel Tree is an outreach effort through County Corrections Gospel Mission. Angel Tree connects parents in prison with their children through the purchase and delivery of Christmas gifts, a wonderful way to care for some of the most overlooked members of our communities, prisoners.  To locate area churches working with Angel Tree or to register your church, call them at 1-800-55-ANGEL.

The Salvation Army of Coatesville holds an annual pajama drive for the children in Coatesville. For this project, you may also donate cash for gift cards that will go toward the purchase of pajamas. Suggested donation for each child is $10.00. The gift cards will have the Salvation Army emblem on them and will designate their use only for the children.  For more information, please call 610-384-2954.