Friends of the Poor Director's Appeal
As I sit to write this letter, I cannot help but become overwhelmed with emotion. I have been blessed to be a part of Friends of the Poor’s ministry for just five months now, and I have seen higher highs and lower lows than I ever could have imagined.
In the Fall letter, I told you about all of the transitions we’d recently encountered. From moving warehouse space to replacing our air conditioners, there was not a “slow” day. However, all of that pales in comparison to our holiday season. Beginning with our 41st Annual Thanksgiving Community Press Conference on October 10th, each day brought a new task to complete so that we may, together, accomplish the largest task of all: feeding over 18,000 people in the two days with our Thanksgiving Dinner on November 21st and Family to Family, coordinated by the Robeson Family, on November 22nd.
That statement in and of itself is awe-inspiring. But, I naively did not realize that our day-to-day does not stop. While preparing for Thanksgiving, we still assisted over 80 families a day throughout our food pantries from Carbondale to Scranton. We still helped over 100 families with overdue water bills and shut-off notices. We still clothed men in need in our Clothes Line for Men program, taught children in our afterschool program, gave out furniture from our furniture bank, and offered an ear and an empathetic hug to all who just needed someone to listen. Poverty – real, extreme poverty – exists every single day here in Lackawanna County, and we are able to ease some of that burden because of you.
We now prepare for our host of Christmas programs, from the dinner for 700 adults and elderly that we had on December 4th, to our food giveaway for families that will be on December 21st. In between those, as Christmas should be a magical time for all children, our toy giveaway in collaboration with Catholic Social Services will be on December 19th, and our annual Santa party will be held at Valley View Terrace. All the while, we will continue our day to day programs and services. Once again, we do this together. We feed and offer material assistance to thousands in such a short time-frame because of each of you, who so graciously donate your time, talents, and treasure to us again and again.
Sister Adrian Barrett, our foundress, was an amazing woman not only because of her work in our community, but because she formed our circle. This circle of caring, compassionate individuals who shared her vision for a poverty-free Scranton. I cannot put into words how grateful and honored I am that you put your faith in me to continue Friends of the Poor’s work toward this shared vision. I hope to see it actualize in my lifetime, but if not, I am content with making a real, measureable difference in the lives of our neighbors, one person at a time, together with you.
On behalf of everyone we serve, may you have a happy and blessed holiday season. Thank YOU for being God’s gift to poor. I look forward to continuing our work in the new year. We could not do this without you. Thank you, a million times over, for your support of our mission.
Joy and peace to you and yours in the new year,
Chief Executive Officer