A couple of weeks before Christmas, we partnered with Families Forward Philadelphia on their 2021 Christmas Marketplace. A facility for about 60, where families are able to be sheltered together, Families Forward Philadelphia provides the Marketplace for parents to pick out specific gifts for their children. While all donations are appreciated, and people mean well, it makes the holiday even more special when parents can pick up the exact gifts that are on their children’s wish lists. With a company generously donating toys on the children’s wish lists, we were able to not only donate other wish list items, but also provide the shelter with our “In a Box” program, including necessities such as blow-up beds, sheet sets and towels. President Pat Walsh and Vincentian Paul Martin (thank you Paul for connecting us to this group) joined with Families Forward Philadelphia’s Chief Development Officer, Kathy Mack, to assist with the teen Marketplace Day.

National Assembly Presentation

At last month’s National Assembly, Executive Director Toni Downey presented the Slow Cooker Project from St. Maria Goretti of Hatfield, in cooperation with Pottstown Family Services “Parents as Teachers”.

St. Maria Goretti SVdP Slow Cooker Project Updates

Exciting updates from the St. Maria Goretti SVdP Slow Cooker Project.

Their third cooking session will be on July 24, featuring pulled pork. The participating families have been meeting every other week via zoom with Ada Sykes of the Pottstown Family Center, who assists with translation. A different family is featured each time, presenting a recipe from their country of origin and the participants follow along and make the meals in their slow cooker.

Additionally, community gardens are being grown! Pictured are two young gardeners in their family’s garden – one of two that SVdP purchased in a community lot. An additional four families also have small plots in their yards.

Kristin Miller says that the project has served as a great way to encourage cooking and healthy eating as well as some positive family time, and has been a wonderful way to connect with their Hispanic neighbors.

St. Maria Goretti SVdP Slow Cooker Project

Members of St. Maria Goretti launched a slow cooker project, in partnership with Pottstown Family Center’s ‘Parents as Teachers’ program. Each participant receives a slow cooker and the ingredients for a meal. In four sessions (due to the pandemic, currently via Zoom), the meals are explained along with nutritional information provided by one of the members, Kristen Miller, who is a visiting nurse. The program started in March with chicken tortilla soup. In May, the meal was vegetarian lasagna. For July, the plan is to feature beef or pork and in September, they are hoping to have a potluck celebration with everyone bringing something they made in their slow cooker to share at a local park. Food costs are covered by the conference members and caseworkers from Pottstown Family center distribute the slow cookers and food, as well as provide translation for Spanish-speaking participants.  Kristen feels that the success of their program has centered on aligning with a recognized social service program who could incorporate the project into their existing efforts with the families, establishing necessary buy-in and continuity.