Leave it to a Palmerton business to make some good out of a terrible, tragic event.
In honor of the victims and their families of last month's elementary school shootings in Connecticut, Country Harvest Family Market created its 26 Acts of Kindness.
Through their patronage, Country Harvest Family Market owners, employees and customers donated 173 cases of food to the Christian Action Council of Palmerton Area Churches to cover their grocery purchase for the month of December.
That represented over $4,500 worth of cans, bottles, and boxes of food used for the food distribution from the Pantry on Dec. 21 at the St. John's Lutheran Church of Palmerton.
Richard Nothstein, owner, said the deed was carried out to help others by helping the CACPAC pantry: "Honor the six teachers who lived up to their dedication to their profession and the children entrusted to them. They died living up to their pledge. And to the 20 innocent first graders whose future is now their past and were "on the job" learning to prepare for their future, and it is lost. And to the parents and families whose pain cannot be imagined and will last forever. And to the people of the Borough of Newtown, CN, who feel their great loss, but react with deeds of kindness and thoughtfulness. And to all of us. We all lost something. But, we can gain some of it back with "26 Acts of Kindness" to others."
Country Harvest also has a 12-foot Christmas tree in the store lobby where patrons can donate for a Christmas card to be hung on the tree by the donor. All proceeds will go to CACPAC for future food distributions.
The tree will remain up into the New Year. Country Harvest will also give a cash donation to CACPAC to match the total donated by their customers.
Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the three families who own the Country Harvest Family Market once again donated turkeys and chickens to CACPAC.
The turkeys and chickens were given out both at the Country Harvest Family Market, as well as St. John's Lutheran Church to CACPAC.
Client pickup was held the Friday before Thanksgiving at St. John's Lutheran Church. On that day alone, there were 203 households, or 585 people served, according to Charlie Silliman, pantry coordinator.
Due to the high demand, the group ran out of turkeys and chickens, said Silliman, who personally went to Country Harvest afterward to pick up additional turkeys and chickens for those who couldn't get them initially.
And as part of their inaugural "giving event", the "Claddagh Keepers" collected two carloads of food as part of a can drive held on Thanksgiving Eve at the West End Saloon in Palmerton.
The recently formed "Circle of Friends" donated the food - which was provided by the Country Harvest Family Market - to CACPAC.
Silliman said that In 2011, CACPAC averaged 151 families per month, or, 401 people per month.
Carbon County was not eligible for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds because the government said both the unemployment level and poverty level did not meet their guidelines, he said.
Silliman said people may call (610) 826-4335 if they would like to schedule a time to drop food off at the pantry.