On Thursday, April 4th, the Fifth and Sixth Grade Principal’s Leadership Committee helped pick up and deliver backpacks for the CHOP backpack program. Students did an amazing job helping with the deliveries. We thank these young Black Knights for their help.
The entire student body and staff of North Rome Christian School spent Wednesday, May 22, giving back to the community with their annual Community Service Day.
Kindergarten through third grades visited three area senior facilities to sing and share Bible verses they had memorized.
Fourth and fifth grades performed yardwork at the homes of two widows.
Sixth grade performed yardwork and maintenance at the PP Bliss Museum. Students in seventh, eighth, and tenth grades chose to either help with trail maintenance at Stoney Point Camp or prepare and deliver meals to four families who were in need of encouragement during a challenging time.
Ninth grade performed yardwork at the home of a WWII veteran and provided assistance at the Child Hunger Outreach Partners facility. Eleventh grade provided building, grounds, and landscape maintenance at the school, which cost shares with the North Rome Wesleyan Church. Twelfth grade spent the entire week on their senior mission trip to Providence, RI, serving at a homeless shelter.
Eleventh graders Cari McCarty and Olivia Lykens work in the flower beds at the North Rome Wesleyan Church.
The school appreciates all the support that the community provides throughout the year and is happy to be able to give back through its service projects
TOWANDA, PA (WENY) -- Since September, Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP) has been helping out local students in need.
"What we do here is we feed kids," said CHOP Director, Danielle Ruhf. "So every weekend the kids get a bag full of food to take home to get them through the weekend."
With the partial government shutdown entering its 32nd day, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are struggling to make ends meet. So organizers with the local non-profit decided to step up and help out those in need in Bradford and Tioga County Pennsylvania.
"I realized that there's a lot of government employees that don't meet criteria to get the traditional aid," said Ruhf. "So I've been ordering a little bit of extra food when I order for the kids. Just setting it aside so if they need to come in and get a box full of food to get them through the week they can do that."
Ruhf says she usually carries non-perishables and fresh produce. But since the government shutdown, she started carrying frozen meat and things to make meals.
"All these kids that we're serving every week, they're an extension of something else," said Ruhf. "Even though they're taken care of, that doesn't mean that their parents are taken care of. I just had a real heart for that because they're still going to work and they're just not getting paid and I felt like it was really important to extend that to them during this time."
The nonprofit will continue offering food to government employees until they're back on their feet. To receive assistance, please private message CHOP on their Facebook page. To donate, please click here.
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A recently-formed organization has significantly increased the number of programs in Bradford County where, to combat hunger, children take food home in a backpack for the weekend.
Since it was formed last September, Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP) has started weekend backpack programs to combat child hunger at St. Agnes School, North Rome Christian School, the Wysox Children’s Center, the Moppets on Mulberry child care center, BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, and Serve, Inc., said Danielle Ruhf, the director and founder of CHOP.
In addition, CHOP has taken over the existing weekend backpack programs at the Towanda and Northeast Bradford school districts, Ruhf said.
CHOP, which is a non-profit organization, has opened an office in Towanda at 2 Elizabeth St., which is where its distribution center for its operations is also located, she said.
“Eleven schools are receiving food from this location (CHOP’s distribution center in Towanda),” Ruhf said. “A lot of schools already have one (a weekend backpack program to combat hunger) in place. (In some cases) we’re taking over their program, because it’s more efficient to have one central location handling it than everybody running a tiny program.”
Director Danielle Ruhf and other volunteers at the Child Hunger Outreach Partners’ distribution center in Towanda unload a delivery of food that arrived from the Central PA Food Bank. Facing the camera, from left, are Ed Estare, Rob Archer of Towanda and Ruhf.
In addition, CHOP is planning to expand weekend backpack programs to additional locations in Bradford and Tioga Counties, said Ruhf, a Laceyville resident.
Ruhf has prior experience in distributing food to those in need, as she and mother, Peg Huyck of Wyalusing, had founded the Helping Hands Food Pantry in 2014 in Wyalusing, which currently occupies a storefront in the borough’s downtown. Ruhf also helped run the Helping Hands Food Pantry.
“I saw a need (for food) outside the service we provided there (at Helping Hands),” Ruhf said, explaining why she founded CHOP. She said that CHOP and its future expansion plans will allow her to address child hunger in a much larger geographic area.
Besides serving as the director of CHOP, Ruhf has a marketing job at “It Works!” which is a company that sells beauty and wellness products. Ruhf said her income from “It Works!” allows her to work as a volunteer at CHOP.
Everyone who works at CHOP is a volunteer, Ruhf added.
In-School Food Pantries
CHOP also operates inschool food pantries in the Wyalusing, Towanda, and Northeast Bradford school districts and at the North Rome Christian School, Ruhf said.
The in-school pantries are small and allow students to take food as needed, either to eat at home or at school.
For example, a student might not have the money to buy lunch on a particular day and could instead eat food from the food pantry, she said.
The food available at the inschool pantries includes non-perishable food items as well as fruits and vegetables.
CHOP has been awarded a grant from the Central PA Food Bank (CPFB) to pay for a refrigerator/ freezer for the Towanda School District’s in-school food pantry, Ruhf said.
The refrigerator/freezer will be used to store frozen meals that students can take home and prepare, yogurt, and other food items.
Besides the weekend backpack programs and the in-school food pantries, this summer CHOP will launch its Summer Food Program, where students will receive “a whole box of food once a week—enough to get them through the whole week,” Ruhf said.
CHOP has received a $1,000 grant from the CPFB to establish the Summer Food Program, she added.
The Summer Food Program will be available to the children who attend the schools and day care centers served by CHOP’s weekend backpack programs.
“We’re going to be working on the logistics” of how the Summer Food Program will get the boxes of food to the children it will serve, Ruhf said.
CHOP purchases most of the food it distributes from the CPFB, which is a very inexpensive source of food for food pantries, she said.
CHOP currently leases part of the ground floor of 2 Elizabeth St., where Trinidad Tanning had been located in the past.
At the Elizabeth St. location, volunteers from CHOP unload deliveries of food and pack plastic bags with food that are delivered to local schools, where they are placed in children’s backpacks to take home for the weekend.
“It (the Elizabeth Street location) is not a place to come to get food to eat,” Ruhf said. “It’s just where we do the work.”
At the beginning of the school year, children participating in the weekend backpack programs are issued a free backpack in which to take the food home.
CHOP will soon be expanding to occupy more space on the ground floor of 2 Elizabeth St., she said.
CHOP never accepts donations of food, Ruhf said. Instead, it seeks donations of money so that it can purchase food to give away.
Ruhf explained that with the same amount of money that someone would spend to purchase a can of food to donate to a food pantry, CHOP can purchase a whole case of canned food at the CPFB.
“I can buy a five-pound bag of apples for 25 cents” at the CPFB, whereas someone would spend a dollar to buy an apple to donate to a food pantry, Ruhf said.
She added that she would like to make CHOP a statewide organization in the coming years, with additional distribution centers being located in other parts of the state.
If you care to make a donation to CHOP, send a check to Child Hunger Outreach Partners, 2 Elizabeth St., Towanda, PA 18848.
CHOP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so donations to CHOP are tax-deductible, Ruhf added.