Rescue Mission Food Drive to Fuel Water Street Mission’s Outreach to Neighbors Struggling with Hunger.
Rescue Mission Food Drive Will Aim to Collect over 70,000 lbs. of Food by Christmas, to Help Feed Local Families in Need.
Lancaster, PA (October 2021) – Rescue Mission Food Drive (RMFD) is a key part of the year for Water Street Mission, bringing in 70,000 lbs. of non-perishable food – roughly the weight of 230 refrigerators combined. Proceeds help provide meals for men and women experiencing homelessness, but they also support the Outreach Center, a food distribution center for neighbors of Water Street Mission in downtown Lancaster. The Outreach Center provides grocery assistance to over 2,000 unique individuals and families, providing roughly 646,000 lbs. of groceries to the community each year.
Many of these neighbors come for grocery assistance because they are on a fixed income, have recently migrated to Lancaster, or are struggling to pay rent or other bills. Regardless of the reason they come for help, Water Street strives to meet each person where they are, helping them recognize they don’t need to go through these challenges alone.
Throughout the last year and a half, the Outreach Center has been a key touchpoint for many of its shoppers. With little outside contact, staff have worked to check on the health and wellness of its guests, and encourage shoppers to stay positive and hopeful.
“It’s been a particularly challenging time for many of our neighbors, who were going through a challenging time to begin with,” explains Dan Siewart, Vice-President of Community Ministries and Outreach at Water Street Mission. “It’s always our goal to go beyond giving out basic necessities, and to really connect with the community, so they know they aren’t facing these times alone. It’s about more than handing out food, we always take the time to get to know those who come to the Outreach center so we can build deeper relationships over time, but also so that we can better serve the community and it’s needs.”
As previously mentioned, food donations from RMFD don’t only benefit the Outreach Center. This winter, Water Street Mission is gearing up to serve nearly 45,000 meals in its dining hall for men, women and children experiencing homelessness. Over the colder months, they see an increase in intakes as guests come in to escape the elements.
Each year, RMFD plays an integral role in helping meet this massive need. As Jack Crowley, President of Water Street Mission explains, “We see a large rise in guests over the winter months, but also an incredible outpouring of support from the community. It’s important to us, especially over the holiday season, to show our neighbors that they are cared for and loved and Rescue Mission Food Drive is a huge way we do that. Our hope is for men and women experiencing homelessness, who come to us for food and shelter, to leave knowing they have a community behind them. In many ways, it’s that support and love that helps guests rebuild their lives, and overcome personal obstacles.”
RMFD would not be possible without this year’s sponsors and drop-off locations who are helping Lancaster fight hunger and poverty. Food donations can be dropped off at Water Street Mission, Sharp Shopper, Boscov’s, CommunityAid, M&T Bank, Bomberger’s, Berger Rental Community, Sheetz, Weis, and AAA Central Penn location in Lancaster County. Anyone looking to participate or learn more about the event and food items needed can check out rescuemissionfooddrive.org for more information.
About Water Street
Since 1905, Water Street Mission has provided an environment of hope and healing where at-risk men, women, and children in Lancaster County can find a hand-up and restoration with God. In addition to food and shelter, all guests have access to medical, dental, behavioral health, spiritual, and career support while on campus. For more information about the programs and services of Water Street Mission, visit WSM.org