AVIS — The New Love Center welcomed many volunteers and community members to the new distribution, food pantry and fresh food pharmacy building Saturday morning for a blessing of the building and a kick-off celebration for the group’s capital campaign.
Joe Arthur, Central PA Foodbank executive director, announced at the ceremony that the Central PA Food Bank Endowment Fund will be donating $100,000 to kick-off the campaign.
Arthur was joined by Dave Winkleman, vice president of The New Love Center board of directors, and Alice Fox Cline, president of the board of directors, were joined by Rev. John Phillips, Crossroads Church; Rev. Dr. Kerry Aucker, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church; Pastor Brian Moyer, Trinity United Methodist Church and U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, to offer a blessing and prayer for the opening and ribbon cutting of the new building.
“We serve us, we serve our neighbors that are exactly like us,” Arthur said.
The new building, located at 263 Henry St., Avis, will be used for a variety of different things, including a fresh food pharmacy in partnership with Geisinger Medical Center for families with diabetic issues, a food pantry, administration offices, distribution and more.
“This building is a tangible reminder of many things,” Fox Cline said. “The foresight of many who have taken the food insecurity internally and have made it their mission to help.”
“We appreciate your support, not just today, but in all of the things you do, whether it is volunteering with us, donors, or just showing up,” Winkleman said.
“The New Lover began this journey six years ago,” Fox Cline said. “And today with all of you, our generous donors, committed volunteers and clients, we move closer to our mission and vision that no one go hungry in our area.”
She added that The New Love Center has grown to giving out food boxes in Jersey Shore, pop-up food pantries in Renovo and Lock Haven, a backpack program in both the Jersey Shore and Renovo school districts, providing hot meals at their cafe Monday through Friday and much more.
“Food insecurity knows no geographic bounds,” she added.
Phillips alongside Aucker and Moyer provided blessings and prayer for the community, asking them to join in, bow their heads and listen to the scripture and petitions.
“As we begin to enter into this new phase with this new building, with this campaign beginning today, Father we ask that you would bless it,” Phillips said. “Father may you continue to expand the way that this organization reaches the needy in our backyards.”
“May warmth and welcome fill this place,” Moyer said. “May it be a home for the community and haven for the stranger; a safe place for laughter, for tears, and for wonder; and a center for acts of service and deeds of love.”
After the celebration and blessing, The New Love Center provided a free volunteer luncheon to those interested.
For more information, please contact The New Love Center at www.thenewlovecenter.com.