- About Us
|Exeter Area Food Pantry Partnership
Reformation partnered with Schwarzwald Lutheran, St. Catherine's RCC and Northstar UMC as well as members of the community to form and operate a local food pantry which serves the 19606 ZIP code, including Exeter, Mount Penn and St. Lawrence. About 1,900 people in this area live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau with 18 percent of the Exeter Twp. School District students qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunches.
Reformation will serve as the distribution site for the pantry days, which will be the 3rd Friday of each month. Food will be delivered from the Greater Berks Food Bank.
You can support this ministry by:
- assiting during distribution times (2-6 P.M.)
- helping to set up that morning(9 A.M. -Noon);
- donating food to food drive supporting the pantry;
- joining the steering committee;
- and praying for the people who need this service
and the organizers of the project.
Contact Person: Melissa Howell-Clarke
Steering committee meets last Wednesday of the month, rotating church locations.
|Hope Lutheran Church, Reading, PA Partnership
| Our partner church, Hope Lutheran, has been serving the Reading community for 123 years. Today Pastor Mary Wolfe and the congregation serve a very diverse, low-income neighborhood. Hope's Director of Social Services runs several outreach programs that involve Reformation.
The Hope Church Food Pantry serves on average 260 needy, which is up from 160 families last year. The need is so great that many will stand in line for hours in rain, sleet, snow and cold. These families regularly receive canned goods, bread, and pastries, and a small amount of frozen meats and fresh fruits and vegetables when available. The pantry is open four times a month. Though the pantry receives most of the food from the Greater Berks Food Bank, our donations of money and food staples are greatly appreciated.
Each year Hope opens its doors to the needy for distribution of gently used clothing. Our donations of well organized bags of clothing make these distributions orderly for Hope’s volunteers.
Hope’s Hang-out serves between 25 and 60+ children every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the school year. Starting at 3:30 children from as far away as 10 blocks gather for after school snacks. They are then given an opportunity to do homework, receive assistance from volunteers, school supplies, and use of computers to complete assignments. By 4:15 the children are split into smaller groups for activities: bingo, baking, game room, crafts and sewing. There are also special activities, trips to the Goggle Works, Christmas gifts for 60+ children, thanks to our Angle Tree, Halloween parties, and at the end of the year, a picnic or an activity such as bowling, skating, etc. The day ends with Kid’s Café. The food is provided by the Greater Berks Food Bank and prepared by the Hispanic Center. The children take turns leading Grace. The group enjoys a birthday cake once a month as well as sharing what is baked in the kitchen for desert each day.
Though members of Hope - Glen and John - volunteer, there are also members of the neighborhood – Maria - whose children come to Hope’s Hang-out, past participants - John, Blair, and Jesus - and some high school students from Reading and Conrad Weiser who help out. Reformation has two representatives on Wednesday to teach sewing.
Hope receives most of their funding from West Berks Mission District and Berks Community Action. The rest comes from donors such as Reformation.
Reformation has made needed financial contributions to the Pastor’s discretionary fund, which has provided fuel oil, water heaters, and other necessities to needy in the neighborhood. We also helped Hope with funding for their new heating plant. I personally appreciate that one as it was getting mighty difficult teaching sewing with coats on. Pastor Mary appreciated our participation in “Live the Love.”
How can we further help Hope’s mission? Continue to donate, consider the increase in the number of needy at their door and ask friends and family to add to our gently use clothing donations. Our “sewing circle” could still use functioning sewing machines, machine needles, bobbins, sharp scissors, and of course fabric pieces. Consider teaching art, baking, handcrafts, or reading to the younger children. Lorraine will always make your time at Hope as positive as she can, just tell her what you need. The biggest requirement for working with the kids is patience and a kind and gentle heart. Hope’s Hang-out could always use volunteers, especially in the fall, even if it is only one time a year.
God’s blessings to all who support our partnership to Hope Lutheran Church in Reading, PA and their mission.
Click here for pictures!
|Chairperson: Teri Stoddard
Council Liaison: Teri Stoddard
Reformation formed a partnership with Utanziwa Lutheran Parish in Utanziwa, Tanzania in 2004. Utanziwa is a village about three hours travel from Bulongwa. Utanziwa is in the southern highlands of Tanzania and is a farming community. It is self-sufficient to provide food, but there is no ready source of fresh water. A previous partnership with a German congregation resulted in the building of a water storage tank. Reformation has worked with Utanziwa to provide funds for a pipeline to draw water from the storage tank and bring it to the village center. Pastor Mary Wolfe, a former pastor of Reformation – now serving Hope Lutheran Church in Reading -- visited Utanziwa in July 2008 as part of the synod youth trip to Tanzania and was present for the ceremony that opened the pipeline to the village center. She also witnessed the construction of a cover for the storage tank to keep the water free from debris as it is delivered to the village. Phase 3 of the project extends the pipeline to each section of the village.
Reformation has also supported other ministries in Utanziwa. Funds from Sunday School offerings were sent, and the village has constructed a community house – to
be used to house visitors, for teaching and for parish meeting. Another individual appeal led by the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (WELCA) has resulted in a scholarship fund to provide an education for eight girls. There is no local secondary school so the fund pays for tuition, room and board, uniforms and supplies for each girl to attend the boarding school in Bulongwa. The leaders of Utanziwa have been enthusiastic for our support. They told Pastor Mary – “When you educate a boy, you educate a man. When you educate a girl, you educate a family.”
HIV / AIDS is a devastating force in Utanziwa as is true in much of East Africa. Other ministries supported by Utanziwa Parish include care of close to 100 children left orphaned by the disease. Most families have adopted orphans to provide for their care. We hope to continue learning and being inspired by Utanziwa to always draw upon faith and joy in the Lord’s presence throughout the challenges of day-to-day living, whatever the circumstances.
Support is needed for the ministry in many forms. Keep the partnership and Utanziwa Parish in your daily prayers. Join our partnership committee. Support the scholarship fund; this is a commitment we want to make every year. Be part of the letter writing to Utanziwa parish. Consider joining in to travel to Tanzania to meet and form a personal relationship with people in the parish
Meeting night: Generally the 4th Thursday of the month.
Click here for older pictures!
Copyright ©2010 Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church - All Rights Reserved.
August 19, 2012