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Lancaster's Water Street Rescue Mission will kick off yearly Food Drive on Nov. 1

This year's goal is to bring in 70,000 pounds of non-perishable food by Christmas, organizers said.
Credit: Keith Schweigert/FOX43
Downtown Lancaster photographed from the air in a file photo.

LANCASTER, Pa. — The Water Street Mission announced that this year's Rescue Mission Food Drive will kick off on November 1.

This year's goal is to bring in 70,000 pounds of non-perishable food by Christmas, organizers said.

Proceeds help provide meals for men and women experiencing homelessness and also support the Outreach Center, a food distribution center for neighbors of Water Street Mission in downtown Lancaster. 

The Outreach Center provides grocery assistance to over 2,000 unique individuals and families, providing roughly 646,000 lbs. of groceries to the community each year, the Rescue Mission said.

"Many of these neighbors come for grocery assistance because they are on a fixed income, have recently migrated to Lancaster, or are struggling to pay rent or other bills," the Rescue Mission said. "Regardless of the reason, they come for help. Water Street strives to meet each person where they are, helping them recognize they don’t need to go through these challenges alone."

Throughout the last year and a half, the Outreach Center has been a key touchpoint for many of its shoppers, the Mission said.

“It’s been a particularly challenging time for many of our neighbors, who were going through a challenging time to begin with,” explains Dan Siewart, Vice-President of Community Ministries and Outreach at Water Street Mission. “It’s always our goal to go beyond giving out basic necessities, and to really connect with the community, so they know they aren’t facing these times alone. It’s about more than handing out food, we always take the time to get to know those who come to the Outreach Center so we can build deeper relationships over time, but also so that we can better serve the community and its needs.”  

Food donations from RMFD don’t only benefit the Outreach Center, organizers said. This winter, Water Street Mission is gearing up to serve nearly 45,000 meals in its dining hall for men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. Over the colder months, they see an increase in intakes as guests come in to escape the elements.  

Each year, RMFD plays an integral role in helping meet this massive need. 

“We see a large rise in guests over the winter months, but also an incredible outpouring of support from the community," said Jack Crowley, president of Water Street Rescue Mission. It’s important to us, especially over the holiday season, to show our neighbors that they are cared for and loved and Rescue Mission Food Drive is a huge way we do that. 

"Our hope is for men and women experiencing homelessness, who come to us for food and shelter, to leave knowing they have a community behind them. In many ways, it’s that support and love that helps guests rebuild their lives, and overcome personal obstacles.”  

RMFD would not be possible without this year’s sponsors and drop-off locations that are helping Lancaster fight hunger and poverty. 

Food donations can be dropped off at Water Street MissionSharp ShopperBoscov’sCommunityAid, and any SheetzWeis, and AAA Central Penn location in Lancaster County. 

Anyone looking to participate or learn more about the event and food items needed can check out rescuemissionfooddrive.org for more information. 

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