A new program run by the Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Marcus Hook is addressing the increased needs of local children this summer as their families continue to navigate the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cokesbury UMC created a meal and educational program, “Fun Friday,” to serve all children ages 1-18 in the Marcus Hook, Linwood, and Trainer communities. Through the program, children receive meals to last them throughout the weekend, in addition to educational activities, games, and books. The weekend program supplements a parallel meal program offered by the Chichester School District, which provides meals for every weekday.
“The summer season typically has a detrimental impact on poverty-distressed families, and this summer is particularly challenging, as the coronavirus pandemic has caused many more families to lose income,” said Cokesbury UMC Pastor Sandy Cislo. “It is our mission through the Fun Friday program to ensure that no child in our community goes hungry, and that their minds continue to be fed as well.”
The program is funded by a combination of state grants, which cover the meals, and local corporate donors, including Energy Transfer and Braskem USA, which operate energy and chemical manufacturing facilities in Marcus Hook. Other donors include Delaware County and Philadelphia-area building trades, such as Steamfitters Local Union 420 and IBEW 654.
Fun Friday launched June 26 and will run through Aug. 14. Cokesbury UMC distributes meals and supplies at two locations and times each Friday: 10:30-11:15 AM at Linwood Heights UMC (1627 Chichester Avenue in Linwood), and 11:45 AM-12:30 PM at Cokesbury UMC (307 Market Street in Marcus Hook). Registration for the program is requested, but not required.
In addition to monetary support, Cokesbury is accepting Fun Friday donations in the form of supplies, including (new) games, puzzles, crayons, activity books, and school supplies. Donors can drop off supplies throughout the summer in a large bin located outside Cokesbury UMC.
“As families in our communities face new hardships and work through this pandemic, it is more important than ever that we band together to take care of each other,” said Joe McGinn, Vice President of Public Affairs at Energy Transfer. “We hope other organizations are able to step up and contribute.”
The church also offers “Sunday Supper” on the first Sunday of each month, currently offering meals to families by pickup or delivery. Additionally, Cokesbury’s Angel Food Pantry is offered on the third Wednesday of each month.
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