Turning Cupcakes into Turkeys?!?!

Ella Markland is a long-time friend of and volunteer at TLC Food Pantry. More often than not, you can find her relentlessly helping those we serve load their food bags each month. However, when we shifted to a delivery service model in March of this year, Ella was not able to help as she normally would. After all, she doesn’t have her driver’s license yet!

Yet, Ella was not deterred. She came up with her own creative way to help serve her friends in need. Earlier this year, Ella hosted some Virtual Cupcake Decorating events. Anyone that knows Ella also knows how remarkable she is, so it was no surprise to us that she raised $400 during her August event. Big-hearted as she is, she donated her proceeds to TLC Food Pantry. (You can read more about Ella in this article on Patch.com)

Ella showing her skills during her October cupcake event.

Needless to say, we were blown away by Ella’s gesture. Our pantry is always looking for donations to help keep our shelves stocked, so that money could have gone towards buying goods for an upcoming monthly delivery or to supply needed paper goods. However, our pantry team was looking for an extra special way to use that $400.

In an October meeting, the pantry team decided to offer a turkey to each household – to serve as a ‘special’ Thanksgiving extra. Thus began our quest to obtain 60+ turkeys for the upcoming November service date. Hmmm, how can we pull this off…

[side note – our delivery number has increased from around 40 in March to well over 70 in November. The year 2020 continues to take a toll on many in our community and we continue to ask for your support in providing whatever donation you can].

Step 1: Where would we get that many turkeys in the first place??
Dave Asbert, Assistant Store Manager at our local Giant (116 Township Line Road), came through in a HUGE way. He and his team are a remarkable group of people who didn’t hesitate to come up with a plan to help. They were able to donate a significant number of turkeys to help support this cause. Dave, from the bottom of our hearts and from all the people you helped today – THANK YOU!!

Dave Asbert (far right) and the awesome Giant team

Step 2: OK, we know where the turkeys are coming from. Now, how to pay for the rest?
Next up – our own Ann Toth! Ann partnered with Thrivent Financial on a special Action Team to help support this project. She was even standing by her phone early this morning for some last minute trouble-shooting. Well done Ann!

Step 3: Time to make arrangements for all the deliveries.
All year long, our volunteer teams have been INCREDIBLE. Each month, they pack bags, receive donations, and make individual phone calls to everyone on our list to ask if they are in need of a delivery. (as noted earlier, this list continues to grow each month). At the same time, they also coordinate another group of volunteer drivers to complete the Saturday deliveries. Needless to say, it ends up being a LOT of time and effort each month and we owe so much to our volunteers and drivers alike.

Step 4: Picking up 60 Turkeys at Giant.
This morning, we cleared out the back of the truck, slid the seats up as far as they could go, and crossed our fingers that the day would run smoothly. Dave met us at Giant and could not have been more helpful. He and his team were both patient and kind getting us all sorted out. After all, ringing up 60 turkeys all at once doesn’t happen every day! Dave scanned everything in, adjusted for the donation and was patient while we worked through some gift cards and Thrivent funds to bring the balance down. Which brings us back to how this story started. After all else was accounted for, the remaining balance was $398 – spot on for Ella’s $400 gift!!

Now with the back of the truck sagging just a little lower than usual, we headed over to TLC to meet up with the rest of the team. It was a lovely fall day and the next 2 hours zipped by as we lined up 76 bags for delivery, provided drivers with their assigned routes, and loaded cars with food & frozen turkeys! Before we knew it, the sidewalk was empty again. The last thing to do is to find something special for that last $2;-)

So, how do you turn cupcakes into turkeys? As they saying goes, “it takes a village.” It starts with the kind heart of a middle school student, mixes in the dedication of local volunteers, asks for help from those able to give, and relies on all those in our community willing to share of themselves for the betterment of others.

We can all agree that 2020 has been a trying year (global pandemic, civil unrest & injustice, nationwide division, natural disasters, economic hardships….this list can go on and on). HOWEVER, there are silver linings to this year and there are positive stories when you take a moment to pause & reflect. We urge you to look around this Thanksgiving week to find some of those instances in your own life.

James 2:26 For just as the body without spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

Together We Are Stronger

We live in a FANTASTIC community. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew Havertown was a great place to live. The kindness, generosity, and willingness to help that we have experienced over the past six weeks has continued to reinforce that belief.

Last month (March 2020), was the first time we did not hold our routine shopping day. The shutdown and social distancing forced us to ‘close’ for the month. However, a dedicated group of volunteers still managed to deliver bags of food to our friends in need. After that day, our shelves were near empty. Probably as empty as they have ever been since we opened in June 2016.

Our unofficial ‘uniform’

Low and behold, since March 29th, we have received countless donations from throughout the township. Both financial donations (through the PayPal tied to this website) and physical donations dropped off at Temple Lutheran. We received enough to repeat our current ‘home delivery’ model of service for this month. The monetary donations are being used to purchase additional foodstuffs as we are receiving more frequent inquiries for help during this challenging time.

This month we received an additional donation of fresh apples and potatoes. Along with the other donations, this allowed us to donate two pre-packed bags of food to our patrons. Yesterday (April 25, 2020), eight different ‘teams’ delivered those two bags of food to 54 families in our area.

All lined up and ready for pick up!

We even had four different people stop with donations during our pick-up time! That’s the kind of place we live in. A place that looks out for others during times of crisis or hardship. We may not be able to ‘control’ the coronavirus, but we CAN control our behavior and our response to it. We can follow safe practices. We can explore creative ways to socialize. And we can continue to help one another. What may seem like a small gesture may in fact, have a BIG impact on someone else. THANK YOU ALL.

April 25, 2020 Service Day Delivery Plans

Friends, Neighbors, and Patrons –

As you well know, the past few weeks have been like nothing we have experienced before. We are praying that you have been able to remain out of harm’s way and have managed to stay healthy. While Social Distancing has been helping to flatten the curve, we can agree that there are costs involved. We are wearing masks/gloves in public and we’re not gathering together as we would all like to.

Unfortunately, this means that we will NOT be holding our typical service day get-together again this month. However, we WILL be delivering pre-packed bags of food – as we did last month. Sorry, but we are not stocked well enough in order to take specific requests right now.

We have a sizable number of bags made up so far and will continue filling more throughout the week. Our group of volunteers will be picking up and delivering these bags in the early afternoon this coming Saturday (4/25/20).

If you are new to the TLC Food Pantry and were planning to visit us in person this month, send an inquiry email to the address below and we will send you a Registration Form. Once we have that information, we will reach out with information on how we can help.

Please continue to pray for everyone in our neighborhood, town, and country. There are certainly many troubling stories in the media right now, but there are also SO many uplifting and encouraging stories as well. You just may need to look a little deeper in order to find them;-)

God Bless – the TLC Food Pantry Team

The POWER of Community!!

Social Distancing or not, the power of community is a force beyond all measure! Around 12:00 today, a small “food delivery task force” assembled outside TLC Food Pantry. Their mission?? To ensure regular monthly food service to our patrons and to some new friends as well – albeit in a different manner than we are accustomed to.

Our regular monthly food service involves lots of friendship and fellowship. We gather together, share a little snack and some coffee, and then walk hand-in-hand to ‘shop’ from the pantry shelves. I feel confident in saying that everyone involved genuinely looks forward to our monthly get-togethers.

COVID-19 threw a big, fat wrench in those plans of course (like it has done to just about everyone else worldwide). But people are Good. Amidst all the anxiety, fear, and stress out there, you can see that people are looking out for each other. They want to lend a hand in any way possible. That’s exactly what we saw with today’s plan.

Forty bags of food were packed and prepared earlier this week. Countless phone calls and emails were exchanged to pull together the extensive delivery plan. Volunteers reached out offering to drive bags around Delaware county and into Philadelphia. Then, despite the rain on this Saturday late in March, minivans, SUVs, cars, and trucks pulled up to TLC, were loaded up with bags of food, and took off again on their assigned routes. (all while maintaining a 6 foot radius and using lots of Clorox wipes;-)

It was not our regular service day by any stretch of the imagination. Although it might have just been the best, most heart-felt one yet…

March 28, 2020 Food Service Plans

Image result for service announcement

Friends, Neighbors, and Patrons –

We have been closely monitoring the ever-changing landscape of our both our town and our country in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our primary concern if for the health, safety, and well-being of everyone in our community.

We also know that Social Distancing is making it even more challenging for some to get work, earn a paycheck, or obtain basic food supplies. We have been exploring various ways on how to reach out to provide support for anyone struggling with food insecurity during this challenging time.

In order to maintain safe social distances, we will NOT be holding our regular group, shopping style service day this coming Saturday. Rather, we are making arrangements to deliver a pre-packaged bag of food to our regular attendees. Unlike our routine monthly shopping dates, the food bags are composed of standard items. Please understand that our supply is limited this month and we are doing the best to stay equitable for all. We are planning to recruit a group of volunteers to deliver these bags this coming Saturday (3/28/20).

If you are new to the TLC Food Pantry and were planning to visit us this month, send an inquiry email to the address below and we will send you a Registration Form. Once we have that information, we will reach out with information on how we can help.

We are praying for everyone in our neighborhood, town, and country right now. Regardless of the underlying cause, difficult times are always made more manageable when we are able to come together. Even if we are not able to come together physically, there is still much we ARE able to do for one another. Continue to look our for each other and please reach out with any service requests. We will update this blog as often as we have news or updates to share.

God Bless – the TLC Food Pantry Team