Tree of Giving program helps feed those in need
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Heidi Shollenberger, Country Harvest Family Market human resources employee, stands next to the Christmas tree that's decorated inside the store.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
The second annual Holiday Tree of Giving program at Country Harvest Family Market in Palmerton is proof of that.
Customers made donations through the purchase of an ornament for $2, to be placed on a 12-foot Christmas tree in the store lobby at Country Harvest. Customers could either write their name or a Christmas message on the ornament.
All proceeds will go to the Christian Action Council of Palmerton Area Churches, a ministry of 15 Palmerton area churches, for future food distributions, according to Chris Anthony, part-owner of the market.
In turn, Anthony said Country Harvest has agreed to give a cash donation to CACPAC to match the total donated by the store's customers.
Anthony said Country Harvest has sold 222 ornaments, for a total of $444, which Country Harvest has agreed to match to raise that total to $888.
On top of that, Anthony said First Northern Bank & Trust of Palmerton took proceeds from their last two days to purchase 206 ornaments, for a total of $412. A match by Country Harvest will raise that figure to $824.
As a result, Anthony said Country Harvest plans to present a check to CACPAC in the amount of $1,712 within the next few weeks "for them to continue their mission to help out needy families in our community."
"I'm really pleased with the way that our customers responded to the call with regard to donations," Anthony said. "It was actually more than I had imagined we would raise, and was just a win-win-win for everybody."
Anthony added that patrons of the store have complimented it for its kind gesture.
"I've had many, many customers who have personally thanked me, and have remarked on how beautiful the tree looks," he said. "And, they're very pleased that we're involved with CACPAC."
Last month, a truck load of donated nonperishable items were collected by the Claddagh Keepers at the second annual food pantry fundraiser held on Thanksgiving Eve at the West End Saloon in Palmerton.
Those items collected of which Country Harvest was again a big contributor were then donated to CACPAC.
And in November the three families who own the Country Harvest Family Market once again donated turkeys and chickens to CACPAC. The turkeys and chickens were distributed to St. John's Lutheran Church in Palmerton, and picked up by the families.
In all, 210 families who reside in the district were able to have food on their tables for Thanksgiving.
That deed was done not only for those families less fortunate, but also in honor of former CACPAC pantry coordinator Charlie Silliman, who recently retired from the position after over 20 years.
Stanley Haupt, executive director of the Shepherd House Inc., Lehighton, previously said Carbon County received $12,226 in 2013 from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
Shepherd House is the lead agency for the nine food pantries in Carbon.
Last year the county did not receive funds from the organization after it was deemed not eligible because the government said both the unemployment level and poverty level were below their guidelines.