Tag Archives: partner

Meet the Community Partner: Octorara Area Food Cupboard

Chester County Food Bank works with dozens of food cupboards in our area to help distribute food to our neighbors in need. One such organization is the Octorara Area Food Cupboard in Parkesburg.

Open in its current location since December 2012, this completely volunteer-run food cupboard serves the Octorara Area School District region, including Atglen, Christiana, Cochranville, Compass, Parkesburg, Pomeroy, Sadsbury and Wagontown.

Through the support of local businesses, churches, schools, civic groups and individuals, it is able to supply nonperishable and fresh foods, as well as dairy and meats, to the community.

The Octorara Food Cupboard also administers an Emergency Food Box program to those in unexpected and dire situations. In 2016, it distributed more than 1,100 pounds of food to people in the area.

The Octorara Area Food Cupboard holds a special place in our hearts because CCFB has been part of it since the beginning. OAFC began in 2005 as a monthly mobile food pantry that would set up in a parking lot in Parkesburg, an area with little access for people in need of food. Operated by the Chester County Food Bank, this market would serve about 65 people with 1,500 pounds of food. In 2010, Judy Dougherty took over as lead volunteer for that mobile pantry and became OAFC’s director in 2012.

At that time, the mobile food market was distributing more than 9,000 pounds of food to 500 residents each month, and OAFC decided it was time for a permanent space. Through a collaborative effort with the Chester County Food Bank and Parkesburg Point Youth Center, as well as local businesses, churches and residents, Octorara Area Food Cupboard opened its doors on Dec. 4, 2012.

CCFB’s executive director, Larry Welsch, was there when that mobile market was founded, and admires Judy as a leader of the ever-growing OAFC.

“Judy is amazing! I am not sure what we would have done without her commitment to the people of that community,” he said. “She has a great team of volunteers and board members who really work hard for that area which, coincidentally, is my hometown!”

As director of OAFC, Judy heads a dedicated group of 50-plus volunteers, who are tasked with unpacking, sorting, identifying and weighing all the food items received. They also stock the shelves in the food area and work with clients coming in for pickups.

“The Octorara Area Food Cupboard’s work has been key to meeting the needs of one of the highest poverty areas in the county. The Chester County Food Bank depends on that work and its partnership with OAFC to ensure access to real, healthy food for the people of that area,” says Larry.

The Octorara Area Food Cupboard is located at 714 W. Main St. in Parkesburg and open Tuesdays from 10 a.m.–noon and 2–4 p.m, and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.–noon and 3–7 p.m.

Want to learn moreSign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or to request a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We take a steadfast approach to provide food and build support in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among our community.

Emily Kovach

Photos, top to bottom: Bigstock; Octorara Area Food Cupboard; Bigstock

Meet the Community Partner: The Clinic

Situated in a big, beautiful Victorian-style house in Phoenixville, in the former rectory of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, is The Clinic. Founded in 2001, this community-based health care center has provided comprehensive medical care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. The Clinic was founded by Dr. Lorna B. Stuart and the Rev. Marie Z. Swayze with funds from a generous anonymous donor, as well as more than $300,000 raised through contributions from the larger community.

The Clinic opened in 2002, and since then has been passionately pursuing its mission of serving a population who fall through the cracks of human and social services, including those who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Many of its patients’ incomes are within 150 percent to 200 percent of federal poverty level guidelines. By the end of 2013, just over 10 years since The Clinic was founded, the largely volunteer staff of doctors and nurses has provided medical care to the community equaling more than 100,000 patient visits.

In addition to routine health care services and screenings, The Clinic offers laboratory services, pharmacy services, specialty care and an abundance of resources such as healthy lifestyle classes and the Girls In Medicine program.

We are proud to call The Clinic a partner in one of Chester County Food Bank’s newest projects, the Fresh2You Fruit & Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program. Thanks to the work of volunteers and staff like Dr. Ana Negrón and Cindy Clark, The Clinic’s pharmacy assistance program coordinator, we were able to debut this pilot program this summer for some of the patients at The Clinic who are most threatened by food insecurity. Essentially, this program allows medical staff at The Clinic to prescribe Veggie Bucks to patients that can then be used to purchase fruits and vegetables at the Fresh2You Mobile Market, which parks outside of The Clinic on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The prescription is renewed each week the participant shops at the market.

The FVRx Program began with a simple observation by Dr. Negrón, one of The Clinic’s regular volunteer providers. Seeing how difficult it was for some of her patients to access nutritious food, including fresh fruits and veggies, on a regular basis, she began to develop a “Healthy Prescription” program. She mentioned the program in a discussion with Roberta Cosentino, the Fresh2You Mobile market manager, back in January, and the idea evolved from there. Working as a partnership, we fleshed out the full concept of FVRx, and with the input and help of the staff at The Clinic, were able to implement the program this summer.

When asked how The Clinic’s patients have been responding so far, Cindy reports that it’s been overwhelmingly positive. “The Clinic enrolled more than 60 patients and their family members during May and June,” she said. “It appears that many are participating based on the activity at the Fresh2You Mobile Market. People can be seen leaving the market with bags overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables.” Sounds like the start of a successful healthy eating initiative to us!

Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or request a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Emily Kovach

First two photos: Chester County Food Bank; other photos, top to bottom: Jonathan Winberg, Mark Psoras