The Chester County Head Start and Pre-K Counts programs at the Gordon Early Literacy Center in Coatesville have opened The Market Club, a place where students’ families are able to “shop” at no cost for essential food and household items.
“There is a lot of research to indicate children who face hunger are more likely to struggle in school,” said Terry Kenworthy, Head Start Supervisor of Health and Family Services.
To help combat those struggles, this project, in partnership with Chester County Food Bank, was started to assist Gordon Early Literacy Center families in times of need. The Market Club will rely on supplemental community donations to meet the essentials for families and to keep the shelves stocked year-round. Families have the opportunity to visit once per month, plus an additional two bonus times throughout the school year if food needs arise. Families will have a punch card to keep track of their visits and to remind them that the service is available for them when needed.
An initial drive to stock the shelves is currently being held to get the pantry ready for its grand opening on Oct. 24. A full list of needed items to fill the pantry can be found here.
“When families are experiencing food insecurity, they are often faced with impossible trade-offs,” said Kenworthy. “In order to put food on the table, families typically sacrifice other basic needs. With that in mind, we have been working with the Chester County Food Bank to determine the best way we can serve families and children. The Market Club will be a great way to do that.”
In addition to giving families access to food and other essentials, The Market Club will also provide families access to computers and the Internet through partnerships with local community service agencies, which will allow families without Internet access at home to complete any necessary tasks online, such as applying to jobs or paying bills.
Community members and businesses that are interested in helping but want an alternate way to contribute are encouraged to donate gift cards or monetary donations or shop the Amazon wish lists online here. There are three categorical wish lists for donors to shop from that include items to prepare meals, necessary baby products, and household essentials.
The Market Club is eager to partner with local businesses that wish to help families in the community. Donations can be dropped off at the Gordon Early Literacy Center located at 351 Kersey Street in Coatesville on Wednesdays between 9 AM and noon. To arrange an alternate drop-off time, or for more information on partnering with The Market Club, please call 610-383-6800.