Local non-profits make Quakertown 'a special place'

Quakertown Cares, Quakertown Community Outreach, Shop With A Cop benefit QCSD families.
Posted on 01/04/2021
Holiday gifts created for needy Quakertown families fill up a staircase prior to delivery. By Gary Weckselblatt

During the recently concluded winter break, a record number of Quakertown families benefited from the work of local non-profit organizations and the generosity of businesses and individual citizens to enjoy the holiday season.

The organizations include Quakertown Cares, created by former Quakertown Community School District administrator Jim Newcomer, Shop With A Cop, organized by QCSD School Resource Officer Bob Lee, and Quakertown Community Outreach, directed by Karen and David Hammerschmidt.

“These grassroots organizations definitely make Quakertown a stronger community,” said QCSD social worker Kirsten Cochran, a member of the Quakertown Cares board who coordinates with the non-profits to make certain the neediest families benefit from these programs. “They really make Quakertown a special place.”

This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating unemployment and the medical needs of many families, she said more than 500 families - a record number - have been helped.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought out the shining stars in Quakertown,” Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner said. “Organizations like Quakertown Community Outreach, Quakertown Cares, and Shop With A Cop, in addition to the contributions from the business community and individuals, helped make the holiday season a wonderful experience for so many of our families. These shining stars are kind and thoughtful people who think of others before themselves.”

Ms. Cochran said families have told her that without these programs this holiday season their children “would have had nothing. For hundreds of our families, it made the holidays for their kids. They had presents, they had food.”

The efforts of Quakertown Community Outreach helped 340 QCSD children for the holidays, raising $45,000 worth of gifts. QCO also distributed $10,000 in Giant gift cards from Quakertown Cares to district families. Shop With A Cop, which raised $50,000, helped 180 youngsters and their families.

In concert with the collections of food and gifts from each QCSD school, needed resources were provided to families unable to afford them. “It’s been awesome,” said Ms. Cochran, who added that “there’s no overhead and 100 percent of every donation goes to families in need. They’re all volunteers. And every beneficiary is local. It’s a win for the community, knowing that their donations are helping someone in their community.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.
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