What does Bushkill Outreach do?
Bushkill Outreach is a Pennsylvania state registered food pantry serving people in need in Middle Smithfield Township in Monroe County and Lehman Township in Pike County.
The Outreach has been serving people in the community for over 30 years. It started out as a community social center whose members began to help out a few local families in need around the holidays.
Over the years, the program has grown considerably, now a state registered food pantry serving food to approximately 1,000 people on a monthly basis.
In the Reformed Church on Rt. 209 in Bushkill, that now belongs to the National Park Service, the Outreach not only offers food, but basic clothing and furnishings at no cost to anyone in need.
The donated furniture and clothing is available at low cost to the general public, which in turn generates some of the operating funds to cover the costs of maintaining the operation and the buildings.
The Outreach has an 11 member board of directors, and is fully staffed by a rotating group of approximately 40 volunteers from the community. Many of the volunteers are representatives of the three local churches, St. John’s Catholic Church, Middle Smithfield Presbyterian and the Bushkill Reformed Church.
The Bushkill Outreach receives food as direct donations from individuals and groups such as the local Girl and Boy Scout troops, churches and social clubs. The Outreach is the recipient of several food purchasing grants as well as monetary donations from the community. Most of the money received is used to purchase food from the Second Harvest Food Bank in Allentown, where pantries can purchase food for 16 cents per pound. Some food is purchased locally when prices warrant. The Outreach is also the recipient of a month allocation of government commodity food from both Pike and Monroe Counties.
Regarding the furniture and clothing, the Outreach is fully dependent on donations from the community of good to excellent quality items to hand out. Many people have been more than generous with donations of items they no longer need. People dropping off trash at the Outreach has been an on-going problem as it is with most outreach programs, but for the most part, we are constantly amazed at the generosity of the local people and businesses who want to help.
Statement of Mission
We see the mission of the Bushkill Outreach Programto be a Spirit led, community effort, offering basic material support to our neighbors at their point of need.
We believe that the program is vital to our community at large, as we strive today to take practical steps to offer support and sustenance, primarily in the form of food, necessary clothing, and furnishings; While at the same time nurturing growth in ourselves that would, at some point, lead us to an ability to reach out beyond mere sustenance to life enrichment for all involved.