Aston, PA – On Friday afternoon, March 12, and Saturday morning, March 13, the parking lot of Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston, Pennsylvania, was a busy site with the center of attention a large truck into which sisters and student volunteers from Neumann University were storing food donations. The project, held during Catholic Sisters Week, grew out of an invitation from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious to all sisters and their associates to join the effort to bring “awareness to the current issue in food insecurity and the underlying causes, such as Covid-19, poverty, unemployment/underemployment, and inconsistent access to healthy food.” As their part in this effort, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia invited our sisters, members of our Companions in Mission Program, friends, and anyone interested in helping those in need to donate nonperishable items, grocery store gift cards, or cash donations. All items received benefited Anna’s Place, our sponsored ministry in Chester, Pennsylvania. Aware of the needs in Chester, the staff at Anna’s Place began in the early days of the pandemic to provide bags of groceries, toiletries, and other needed items for their guests twice a week.
The outcome of the food drive was beyond our expectations. People came, the trunks and/or back seats of their cars filled with food that would feed individuals whom they had never met. As each car pulled in, one of the sisters greeted the donors with a “Thank You” card. Our team of sisters, companions, friends, student volunteers from Neumann University, a senior from Cardinal O’Hara High School, and a second grade student from Drexel Neumann Academy helped to unload the donations, storing them all in the back of the huge truck. Among the visitors was our representative, Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, and her husband, Mark Stewart, who came bearing food donations and gift cards. In some instances, visitors were also delivering donations from friends as well as their own contributions. A number of people made monetary donations. All told we completely filled the truck top-to-bottom with donated goods and were able to gift more than $7000 to Anna’s Place.