COVID-19 is greatly affecting the most vulnerable among us. Some Community Meal Providers (for more info on the program, scroll down) have made the difficult decision to close, while others are pouring additional money and effort into adapting service methods to protect staff and clients.
But yet hundreds of food service workers are without work, industrial kitchens are sitting empty, food at distributors is being wasted. PRC is coordinating with the Commons Company, a pillar in the downtown Lancaster food scene, to hire their laid-off employees to make bagged meals for the Community Meal Program to hand out to those who are food insecure.
The Lancaster County Council of Churches (LCCC) founded the Lancaster Community Meal Program in 2002. Since its inception, the program has provided free daily meals to community members in Lancaster City and County who are confronting food insecurity. The program relies upon hundreds of volunteers who offer meals served in and by churches and other community organizations. It benefits well over 100,000 friends and neighbors per year. The program’s community meal coordinators source much of the food from food pantries, at discounted prices from a variety of local grocery retailers, or through donations from the members of various churches who participate in the program.
Because of COVID-19, most meal providers have turned to handing out bagged meals instead of offering hot sit-down meals.
PRC works to provide long-term volunteer support, food safety trainings, and affordable, nutritious meals for this vital program. During this crisis, we are helping connect the providers, volunteers, donors, and the food service industry to make sure no one goes hungry.
In January 2020, PRC organized more than 20 churches across the theological spectrum to forgive Lancaster County’s long-term medical debt by purchasing $3.1 million in debt for $31,000. Long-term medical debt can devastate a family or individuals financially, leading to bankruptcy and poverty. LanCo MyHome (formerly the Lancaster County Homeless Coalition) lists medical debt as a leading cause of homelessness in Lancaster County.
Many immigrants leave the York Detention Center to a community of loved ones, but sometimes an immigrant is granted asylum, but has no community to go to and will be released into immediate homelessness. Occasionally a sponsor is no longer able to host someone who has been bonded out or has received asylum. In these cases, PRC is working with national partners to resettle these individuals into supportive communities who will welcome these immigrants to their new lives.
Participating Churches in Medical Debt Relief
Akron Mennonite Church
Bethany United Church of Christ
Blossom Hill Mennonite Church
Church of the Apostles United Church of Christ
Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster
Faith United Church of Christ
First Presbyterian Church of Lancaster
Forest Hills Mennonite Church
Grandview United Methodist Church
James St. Mennonite Church
Landisville Mennonite Church
Marietta Community Chapel
Mount Joy Mennonite Church
Mountville Church of the Brethren
Pilgrims Mennonite Church
Rossmere Mennonite Church
Sunnyside Mennonite Church
Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster
To support PRC’s Poverty Initiatives, please fill out the donation form on this page.
To participate in PRC’s Poverty Initiatives, please complete the form below.