A real estate firm in western Pennsylvania has joined community efforts to feed those in need during the pandemic.
Greater Allegheny-Kiski Area Board of Realtors® member Heidi Powell, broker of NextHome Dynamic in Freeport, says other Realtors®, banks, accounting firms, grocers, the Kiwanis, the Freeport mayor and borough council, the Freeport Fire Department and volunteers throughout the community have teamed up to serve up lunch Monday through Friday.
“When the pandemic started, a friend approached me about providing a daily meal to people in the community,” Powell said. “Our brokerage has a made giving back a priority, so we volunteered to help, but this is truly a community-wide effort.”
The meals are prepared off site by volunteers. Additional volunteers deliver about 100 meals to those who aren’t able to pick up the lunches and the rest are brought to Powell’s office for distribution. Her office, located in a former bank building, has a drive-through lane that enables people to easily pick up meals there.
Feeding Freeport started serving lunches on March 17 and initially served about 120 meals. Now they’re preparing about 350 per day.
“Everything is funded by donations,” Powell explained. “So far, the community has raised $14,000 to help cover the costs. The entire community has really pitched in to help with monetary and food donations. We have people who are baking and donating items to include in the individual meal packages. It’s just an incredible effort by many people. We initially started this because our school district wasn’t providing lunches for children in need and it’s grown from there. Now we’re serving families with children, senior citizens and service providers like our fire fighters.”
Other businesses have sponsored a day of giving, for example, accounting firms sponsored “Tax Day,” and funded the meals for the day.
Other GAKA Realtors® joining the efforts include Christine Meyer with Coldwell Banker, Joy Foust with Czekalski Real Estate and Jen Atkinson, Sarah Boley, Danielle Guthrie, Renee Hileman, Larena Mazurek with NextHome, as well as GAKA industry partners Pam Morrow with First Commonwealth Bank, Dave Freeman with Property Pro Home Inspections and Dave Kane with Kane Appraisals.
Powell’s company recently started Dynamic Community Foundation, which formalized their business plan that includes giving a portion of every commission to a charity for the past seven years. “We’ve always had the spirit of giving in our office as a thank you to the community that has supported us. It’s really about gratitude,” she said.
“It’s been a joyful opportunity to be able to help people, watching those who are grateful for the meal and those who are happy to be able to help,” she added.