Giving Paoli its Daily Bread

Paoli Baptist Church volunteers help feed those in need.

Twice a month the sign sits prominently on the front lawn of on Lancaster Ave./Route 30. The message is simple, the need it meets is profound.

Burnetha Lewis leads a group of volunteers who give away bread on the first and third Satuday of each month. They've been doing it since early this year. Burnetha says there is never any left at the end of the day.

This weekend Burnetha, Sadie and Charles Nocho and another volunteer who wanted to remain anonymous greeted families who have been coming for months. "The need is incredible," Ms. Lewis explains. She says the downturn in the economy has hit the Upper Main Line hard.

"If you scratch just below the surface you can see it," the volunteers all said. In such an affluent area where median incomes and home prices are among the highest in the Pennsylvania, unemployment and financial hardships are often hidden from friends, neighbors, and even relatives. Saturday afternoon a mother with three young children came in their S.U.V. as they have for months.

While the profile of those in need can look a little different in Tredyffrin than in more impoverished areas, the need is still the same. When life circumstances suddenly change because of sudden unemployment, divorce, or other major events the hardships can be just as profound.

The church opens the doors of the bread giveaway to any one who needs it. Ms. Lewis says the bread is donated by the Pepperidge Farm store in Frazer. Someone from the church just has to go pick it up. The church also runs a food pantry and distributes donated food to those in need.


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