Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Chester County Food Bank

“Feeding Thousands” sponsored by St. Luke Lutheran Church in Devon a successful event! Thanks to volunteers and community organizations!

St. Luke Lutheran Church in Devon organized “Feeding Thousands” on Saturday, October 17 (the week of World Food Day). Groups of 10-12 people from the community were invited to participate. All that was needed was volunteers to package the meals and a contribution of $500 to provide the ingredients and supplies.

In the past, St. Luke’s has distributed the food through Philabundance and Chester County Food Bank. According to their website, St. Luke’s is also exploring the possibility of sending some of the meals to Liberia to continue relief efforts after the recent Ebola outbreak. The church is committed to making sure that every meal is donated quickly and effectively to get the meals to people who are facing hunger.

A variety of local organizations and groups participated in St. Luke’s Feeding Thousands event, including members of the Chester County Chiefs of Police Association and the Chester County Fraternal Order of Police. On behalf of the participating police officers, Tredyffrin Police Supt. Anthony Giaimo, sent a note to me that they were honored to participate in a program to end regional hunger.

Supt. Giaimo explained the process for the event … that the Feeding Thousands volunteers assisted in packaging meals, loading boxes and other duties in a production line. Groups worked in one hour segments, keeping pace ensuring that all needed meals were packed. At various times during the day, St. Luke’s workers announced the number of packed meals, which numbered in the thousands.

In addition to an update on Feeding Thousands, Supt. Giaimo offered the following … “I wanted to pass this along with the added comment that donations of food this time of year are extra especially important for those who are without food or not having enough food. It is incredible that just in our region, families need to balance the ability pay for heat and rent with the ability to eat or eat well.” Well said!

Police photoMembers of the Chester County Chiefs of Police Association and the Chester County Fraternal Order of Police

American Red Cross: 2012 Chester County Heroes Breakfast Needs Your Support!

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and responds to emergencies. The Red Cross is not a government agency – all assistance is provided free of charge. Red Cross assistance is made possible through the generosity of people in our region who donate their time, money and blood.

Steve Shapiro, attorney and regular contributor to Community Matters, is on the Board of Directors for our local Red Cross, Chester County chapter. Each year the organization honors Chester County heroes and Steve forwarded information about the HEROES BREAKFAST EVENT to honor this year’s recipient. On April 25, Denise Graf, Captain of the Chester County Red Cross volunteer Disaster Team will be honored for the difference she makes in our community.

Denise Graf, who lives in Downingtown and works for The Vanguard Group in Malvern, joined the Red Cross in October of 2005 and became captain of the Chester County Disaster Action Team (DAT) in 2008. In addition to responding to disasters, she has created partnerships between the Red Cross and the Chester County Department of Emergency Services and the Chester County Food Bank to coordinate services during emergencies. She is also devoted to teaching members of the Chester County community about disaster preparedness and fire safety. Denise received the Red Cross Volunteer of the Year award for Chester County in 2007, the Team Captain of the Year award in 2008, and an award for health fair support in 2010.

Denise reports that 2011 was her busiest year yet as a Red Cross volunteer. “Our team had only opened maybe two or three shelters over the past six years, and we opened four in the span of one and a half weeks during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,” she explained. The busy year began in February when she responded to a fire that happened to be at the home of her neighbor. The family was very distraught by the loss of their home, and Denise did not see any of them until Christmas Day, when the daughter brought Denise a gift and card. “It took the better part of the year, but they are now back in their home and took the time to come down and let me know how much my assistance in their time of need meant to them,” Denise says.

The HEROES BREAKFAST EVENT recognizes and celebrates heroes in Chester County who have saved lives, committed selfless acts of courage and compassion, and exemplify the mission and qualities of the Red Cross.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012, from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM

The Desmond Hotel, One Liberty Blvd., Malvern, PA 19355

Click here for ticket and/or sponsor information. Remember, the American Red Cross is an entirely volunteer run organization that depends on the generosity of people who donate their time and money. Thanks Steve for sharing this information about such a valuable organization.

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