FISH food

A photo on the Trinity Lutheran Church, Perkasie Facebook page shows a dolly of food Pennridge FISH (Fellowship in Service to Humanity) had to scramble to distribute because of not having a place to store the food. A fundraising campaign is trying to raise enough money for the food pantry in Perkasie to add a commercial-grade freezer. 

PERKASIE — Early and big scores in a campaign to help provide needed additional freezer space for the Pennridge FISH food pantry have the organizers moving the goal posts.

Initially, Trinity Lutheran Church in Perkasie was aiming to use its participation in this year's Souper Bowl of Caring to raise enough money for at least one chest freezer for FISH.

"We had a $900 goal. We met that in hours," said Trinity Lutheran Pastor Jennifer Phelps.

Within three days, the amount received was over $3,000. In the first week, it was up to $8,000. And that's just at Trinity. It doesn't include contributions made through other congregations, community partnerships or donated directly to FISH, she said. 

"It's caught the imagination, I think, of the community," Phelps said. "There just seems to be a desire to extend generosity."

Other churches, community organizations and individuals in the community have joined in what has become a bigger campaign — to provide FISH with a larger, commercial grade freezer.

In order to do that, the goal post has been moved in hopes of collecting $15,000 by the end of February. After that, campaign organizers hope to move the goal post again. 

"The true need is $25,000, so if we get close to $15,000, we will continue to push," Phelps said. 

"We want to give ourselves room to reach for $25,000, which would then give FISH all of the funding necessary for the freezer and all the infrastructure to install it," she said.

The additional freezer space is needed because FISH now has to sometimes turn down large shipments because of not having anywhere to store the food, Pennridge FISH President Harry Tucker said.

"If we don't have the freezer space to store it, we cannot accept it," he said.

The pantry sometimes uses borrowed freezer space at local churches and businesses, he said.

"We'd basically scatter them all over the place," Tucker said, "but having additional freezer space on-site is going to be an asset resource that will make it so we can provide more food to those that need."

"This will really help them meet a need that they've dreamed of for awhile," Phelps said. 

"In 2020, over 5,000 groups collected over $10.6 million in dollars and food donations for hunger-relief charities across the country. Over $63 million has been collected since Souper Bowl of Caring began in 1990," according to Souper Bowl information on the tacklehunger.org website.

The fund drive for Pennridge FISH extends out for a longer period than the Souper Bowl of Caring, which traditionally has taken place on the day the Super Bowl is held, Phelps said.

Even though some churches may not be meeting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic, donation drives have continued for food and personal care items distributed by Pennridge FISH, she said.

Contributions for the Pennridge FISH freezers may be made by mailing checks to Trinity Perkasie, 19 S. 5th Street, Perkasie, PA 18944 or by PayPal through the www.trinityperkasie.org website. In either case, mark the memo line "FISH freezer." 

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