St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church to help the homeless

Instead of giving up something for Lent, some Pottsville parishioners are giving back to the community during the Lenten season by serving the homeless for 40 days.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — Gerry Schwartz works with Pottsville parishioners at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church to help keep the homeless warm and fed this Lenten season with Blessing Bags.

According to the Homeless Shelter Directory, there are nearly 100 homeless people in Schuylkill County. Many rely on soup kitchens and pantries.

“When you serve food at the soup kitchen, it’s a very humbling experience. Especially when you see someone you know, it’s even harder,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz’s love for serving the Schuylkill County community initiated this Lenten season project.

Since Ash Wednesday, the church has collected enough food and winter supplies to help 50 homeless people.

“Part of almsgiving is helping the community and helping the homeless and those who don’t have enough to eat,” Schwartz explained.

In addition to collecting non-perishable food for blessing bags, parishioners made 10 blankets to give to those who may not have enough to keep warm.

“The blessing blankets will be distributed by Blessings for All themselves, so if someone walks in and doesn’t have anything to keep them warm or a coat, they will give them a blessing blanket.”

Schwartz says this act of service has strengthened her faith and her community at the church.

“It is a very good Lent this year. I feel full of energy. I won’t be able to see the blessing bags come out, but that’s okay. We know they go to a safe place where people go to that safe place to get help. says Schwartz.

If you want to give back this Lent, you can drop off non-perishable items at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church by the weekend of March 26-27. The blessing bags will then be given to the homeless in early April.

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