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New Service Provided for Diabetics, Food Insecure in Jersey Shore

JERSEY SHORE — A partnership between a corporate hospital service and a local food ministry has officially launched a program designed to educate — and help feed — diabetic patients looking to get their health under control in Jersey Shore.

The Geisinger Health System has launched its Fresh Food Farmacy program with help from a local coalition of ministries focused on feeding those who need it: The New Love Center.

The Fresh Food Farmacy’s objective is to provide nutritious food and education to empower patients with the ability to make healthy decisions for their bodies, according to Alice Fox Cline, president of The New Love Center.

“With healthy food, diabetes education and support, we’re providing our patients with a special kind of medicine that doesn’t come from a bottle,” Cline said in a news release.

Food-insecure individuals with A1C levels greater than 8.0 are referred to the food pantry and are taught which food to choose and which to avoid, health coaching services, recipes and a referral to The New Love Center.

The New Love Center then grants them enough food to make ten meals a week that will support a healthy lifestyle.

“We are a group of folks who are committed to people who are food insecure,” Cline said. “We felt it was a great partnership, with the pandemic.”

Food insecurity has skyrocketed in the area since the onset of the pandemic, according to Cline. Around 20% of Clinton County’s residents and 25% of Lycoming County residences experience food insecurity–compared to the 16% to 17% of the population in Pennsylvania.

Food insecurity makes it difficult for diabetic individuals to provide themselves the most nutritious options to keep themselves healthy, according to Allison Hess, vice president of health services at Geisinger.

“You can’t manage Type 2 diabetes if you do not have access to nutritious food,” Hess said.

Over the past six months, the Fresh Food Farmacy has run a test bracket to see just how efficiently its program can help patients.

Kathleen Chilcot, of Montoursville, was one of the guinea pigs for the program — and she could not be happier with the results.

Chilcot began the program back in August, and explained her typically high blood sugar has returned to a normal rate and that she has lost 50 pounds.

“It was really helpful, having a place to pick up good (food) choices,” Chilcot said. “I want to live longer and go do more. I want to feel better about my health and feel better about my body.”

Chilcot’s story begins with a hospital scare two years ago, where her husband raced her out to the hospital for an emergency surgery because he back was hurting.

“It’s been a good program. It isn’t a matter of embarrassment, it is a matter of health,” Todd Chilcot said.

“The partnership between Geisinger and The New Love Center is exactly what the doctor ordered,” Todd Chilcot said. “It taught us how to seek proper food, and showed us proper food management.”

The New Love Center is a 501c3 nonprofit organization of volunteers from more than 30 local churches, that helps provide food to those in need, according to Dave Winkleman, vice president of The New Love Center.

“It is not just about the client but the client and their family,” Winkleman said, describing a trickle-down effect of education.

“It’s really an incredible model and if we can replicate this, it will really demonstrate how health care and community-bonded organizations can come together and help make communities healthier,” Hess said.

The New Love Center provides food at no charge through their cafe and food pantry.

The cafe is hosted in the Trinity United Methodist Church, 1407 Allegheny St., and is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Clients need only bring a form of ID to receive a free lunch.

Meanwhile, The New Love Center’s pantry, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 229 S. Broad St., is open 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Friday of each month.

Area residents experiencing unexpected food insecurity can also call the center’s emergency number at (570) 772-3275.

The New Love Center accepts monetary donations online at thenewlovecenter.com/donating, and those interested can sign up to volunteer time at thenewlovecenter.com/volunteering.

Alternatively, one can reach out to 570-244-8838, or mail a check to P.O. Box 504, Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.

“We’re the love Christ provides for all,” Cline said. “We see that people who are food insecure have a place to come get nutritious food.”

Student Raises Funds for Mask Making Project, Donates Leftover Money to The New Love Center

JERSEY SHORE — In a short presentation, Central Mountain Senior, Carolina Carpenetti, donated $2,231 to The New Love Center on Thursday afternoon at the food pantry location at St. John Lutheran Church on Broad Street.

Through her project, “Sew to Slow,” she made over 1,000 masks to give out to the community. She decided that she wanted to fundraise for sewing supplies to ensure that the masks given to locals were absolutely free.

“I just saw that there was a real need in the community for masks,” Carpenetti said. “People were very generous.”

After raising $5,000 through her gofundme fundraiser and getting the supplies she needed to continue making masks, she decided to donate the rest of the funds to The New Love Center.

“I know this organization (The New Love Center) helps a lot of people,” she continued. “People here struggle with food insecurity. I thought it would be a good organization to donate to.”

Dave Winkleman, vice president of the board of directors, alongside many Center volunteers reached out to thank Carpenetti for her generous efforts.

The New Love Center Kicks Off $2.5 Million Capital Campaign for Route 150 Building

AVIS — In a celebration event on Oct. 17, The New Love Center launched a $2.5 million capital campaign for an 18,000 square foot warehousing building that will soon be constructed along Woodward Avenue in Avis, between Pine Creek Veterinary and European Imports.

The land for the new building was purchased in September of last year and the plans for the building are still in the early stages of developing according to Dave Winkleman, board vice president.

He added that the Center has received about $1 million in commitments from various different sources and partnerships, $100,000 of that awarded from the Central PA Food Bank, but have also applied for state tax credits and other grants to help fund this project.

“We are pursuing every avenue we can,” he said.

Representative Stephanie Borowicz, R-76 McElhattan, has also been involved in this project and is working with the Center to retrieve funding.

There is no definite answer as to when the project will break ground, though Winkleman’s personal goal is anywhere between the next 12 to 16 months with the opening goal to be within the next two to three years.

He added that the goal for the large warehouse building is to bring the cafe, backpack program, warehousing of products, distribution, administration offices and pantry, all under one roof–eventually closing its other locations including: the Trinity United Methodist Church and the food pantry on Broad Street in Jersey Shore.

“We want to make sure a majority of the building is used for clients and warehousing,” he said.

“This is something our community needs,” he added.

Alice Fox Cline, board president, added that the Center is also working with River Valley Transit, which travels through the area with their busses, to see if the bus stop in that area can be moved closer to the new building.

“People are very generous,” she said. “The Lord has moved in ways we cannot even imagine. We just have to remember that the Lord has plans, He has taken care of us.”

For those who don’t already know, The New Love Center started their journey about six years ago in Jersey Shore when it was closed and reopened by those who were a part of it and wanted to make sure the mission lived on.

Fox Cline said that when it was reopened, it started out of the Central PA Food Bank helping them provide for community members.

Today, they have serviced Jersey Shore, Renovo and Lock Haven with their various programs including their school district backpack program, pop-up pantries, box program for seniors, two distribution centers at local churches, a cafe and the new building on Henry Street in Avis which is a stepping stone until the other building is finished.

New Love Center Launches Capital Campaign By Blessing New Building

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.

The New Love Center Kicks Off Capital Campaign

AVIS — The New Love Center welcomed many volunteers and community members to their new distribution, food pantry and fresh food pharmacy building, located at 263 Henry St. in Avis, on Saturday morning for a blessing of the building and a kick-off celebration for their capital campaign.

Joe Arthur, Central PA Foodbank executive director announced 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 Reverend John Phillips, Crossroads Church, Reverend Dr. Kerry Aucker, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pastor Brian Moyer, Trinity United Methodist Church and Congressman Fred Keller, 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 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.

MALLORIE McILWAIN/THE EXPRESS Alice Fox Cline, president of The New Love Center board of directors, speaking at the blessing of the building and kick-off of the capital campaign event on Saturday, Oct. 17.

“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.

MALLORIE McILWAIN/THE EXPRESS A crowd listens to the blessing of The New Love Center’s new distribution and fresh food pharmacy located at 263 Henry St., Avis.

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.

Pine Creek Supers OK Conditional Use for New Love Center

AVIS — The Pine Creek Township Supervisors unanimously approved a conditional use for The New Love Center’s new building at 263 Henry St., at their in-person meeting on Wednesday morning.

The building will be used primarily for The New Love Center’s partnership with Geisigner for their fresh food pharmacy program to give food out to diabetic patients. Other uses include storage, administration offices, the backpack program, food pantry and classrooms, according to New Love Center president Alice Fox.

“The location is perfect for us,” she said.

Fox also said that with construction, the front of the building will be renovated to be ADA handicap compliant, have adequate parking and an updated loading dock for food distribution.

The project’s engineering and construction will be done through Lundy Construction out of Williamsport.

Additionally, The New Love Center will be blessing the building in a public ceremony on Oct. 17 at 10:30 a.m. Congressman Fred Keller is expected to be in attendance.

During the regular monthly meeting that followed, the supervisors approved two waivers for Hawbaker Engineering for the property located off the Avis exit, next to the Dollar General.

The waivers that were approved for Robert Maguire’s project include lessening the right of way for a cul-de-sac and the second being the street paving requirement.

Typically, a cul-de-sac right of way requirement would be a 125 feet diameter right of way and a 100 feet diameter cul-de-sac; the waiver was granted for 100 feet diameter right of way and a 80 feet diameter cul-de-sac.

In terms of paving, the waiver was granted for one and one half inch superpave asphalt, four inches superpave base course and six inches of stone.

In other news, the supervisors unanimously approved a two-lot subdivision add on for Jason Smith located on Park Avenue. The subdivision was created to separate pieces of land.

The supervisors agreed to Trick or Treat hours of 6 to 8 p.m. on Halloween night.

Supervisors also agreed to appoint Richard Lowe, public accountant, to audit the township accounts and agreed to accept the resignation of Myron Deitrick from the Zoning Hearing Board.

Members present were John Reese, Dennis Greenaway, Tom Wilt.

The next Pine Creek Township meeting will be held Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m.

The New Love Center Meets Critical Need In Jersey Shore Area

Living paycheck to paycheck is a reality for so many. When a disaster hits, such as a pandemic, families that were just getting by find themselves choosing between necessities like prescriptions and groceries.

For those working and volunteering at The New Love Center in Jersey Shore, seeing people in need of food and meeting that need is nothing new. However, since the COVID-19 health crisis hit, their client numbers are now staggering.

According to Board of Directors President Alice Fox, the Christian-based nonprofit prepared over 11,000 meals for the whole of 2019. From March to June 2020, that number hit the 8,900 mark.

“That’s just in The Café,” Fox said. “When you look at our distribution, it’s about 1,500 people in Renovo, more than 600 families in Lock Haven and in Jersey Shore we’ve done about 450 or 500 families.”

It was almost six years ago when another agency decided it could no longer support the former Love Center. With just two weeks notice before closure, Fox said that a group of concerned citizens got together to brainstorm a way to keep the organization alive. A committee was formed and the group set out to open The Café for lunches and provide food distribution twice a month. Outreach initially reached from Linden to Woolrich but the pandemic necessitated a need for food in Lock Haven and Renovo. As a result, pop-up sites were established to expand the organization’s coverage area.

Now, those in need of a no-cost meal can walk up to The Café, located on the Glover Street side of Trinity United Methodist Church at 1407 Allegheny Street in Jersey Shore. Take-out lunch is available 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Food distribution is held from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Friday of the month at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church at 229 S. Broad Street in Jersey Shore, as well. Food distribution was being provided at pop-up locations twice per month in Lock Haven and Renovo. However, but recently that was scaled back to once a month. Fox said that could change if the governor decides to shut down parts of the state again. Folks in those areas can receive food from 2 to 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the STEP Office of Aging at 124 E. Walnut Street in Lock Haven. In addition, on the third Friday of the month from 2-5 p.m. food distribution is available at the Renovo Fire Department-Emerald Hose and Ladder Company in Renovo at 230 11th Street.

If someone finds themselves in need of emergency food, they are encouraged to call 570-772-3275, and an individual will assist in providing what is needed.

Just as much as The New Love Center provides food, it also fills another critical need – companionship. Fox said that before the pandemic The Café would open at 8 a.m. for those who wished to enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation. She recalled a woman who came to the pantry who had recently lost her sister. They were able to provide food for her belly and a hug and prayer for her heart.

“I’ve worked with a number of nonprofits in my life and I have to say this has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” Fox said. “It has stretched me in ways I never thought I’d be stretched. Just talking to people and making connections with them. This is about people that we see everyday. [Whether it is] food insecurity or loss of a relative, you just don’t know what people are going through,” she added.

The New Love Center partners with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and relies on an estimated 800 volunteers to fill the necessary 1,000 hours per month to get the job done. Three part-time staff include an administrative assistant, custodian and cook. Each typically works 36 hours per week, but, according to Fox, the staff was easily working 80 to 90 hours a week because of the pandemic. Whatever it took for us to get the job done is what we did,” she said.

In addition to The Café and food distribution centers, The New Love Center also offers the Military Shares program from 9 -11 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the American Legion, George W. Pepperman Post #36 Home Associations Inc.; the Backpack Program, which provides backpacks loaded with back-to-school items for about 400 students each year; an Elder Share program that provides an extra box of food for those older than 60; and the PB&J Program, which provides a jars of peanut butter and jelly along with a loaf of bread from 9 -11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. on the Mondays between pantry distributions at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The operation currently runs out of four or five locations. They include St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, where 24 refrigerators and freezers house food; a 40-foot freezer in a storage unit in Renovo; and Trinity United Methodist Church, where three or four freezers are located, among others.

“Our vision has always been to bring all those programs under one facility,” Fox said. “Somebody brought our attention to a four-acre plot of ground on Route 150, between Pine Creek [Veterinary Associates] and European Imports. We will start a capital campaign and we have a cabinet ready to work on that. We’re working with Lundy Construction and they have been outstanding to us. We will have The Café, a classroom where we’ll offer budget counseling and other programs, and all of our programs will come under one roof. We’re very excited about that.”

Fox said coordinators hope to have the land cleared by late August or early September, when a cookout will be held to thank the volunteers and announce the groundbreaking to the public.

The New Love Center’s mission statement is simple, “Where the love of Christ provides for all.” Fox said, “We’re driven by two things: The needs of our clients and the volunteers who so readily give up their time and serve this organization. Without our volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do. This is God’s ministry, not ours.”

For more information about The New Love Center, visit www.thenewlovecenter.com or call 570-244-8838.