With the holiday season upon us, it seems pertinent to bring to the forefront the Open Line program, which offers numerous services to families in the community. In doing so, it provides security and inspires hope, especially in this time of economic uncertainty.
The Open Line, located in Pennsburg, offers counseling, financial assistance and a food pantry, among other services, throughout the year. The food cupboard and holiday programs, such as “Adopt-A-Family” and “Angel Tags,” are sustained primarily through donations from the community.
According to the Open Line staff, the “community spirit [has been] overwhelming” this year, as local businesses and citizens have stepped up to make sure no child goes without during the holiday season.
“Many families tell us that if it were not for the donated gifts, their children would have nothing for Christmas,” Sandy Fettermen, PR coordinator at the Open Line, said. More than 618 children and families have received donations from Open Line holiday programs.
In the coming year Open Line will be depending even more heavily on community contributions. Following Montgomery County budget cuts for 2012, Open Line will no longer receive $28,000 in funding – a significant loss. The cuts primarily will affect reception services, which fielded more 2,519 calls in November alone, a 25 percent increase from 2010.
“As funding streams get less and less, we are always looking for creative ways to stretch our resources and still provide quality services,” Fettermen stated.
Open Line provided 127 households with Thanksgiving dinner this year, a 23 percent increase over last year. Additionally, there was a 45 percent increase in the number of children who received school supplies in September.
While demand has increased, the generosity of others in the community has bolstered the supply of food, clothing and baby supplies available for distribution. Organizations such as the Upper Perkiomen High School National Honor Society, Boy Scouts of America and local companies have contributed through several local drives over the past few months. “We hear a lot of negative things in the news,” Fettermen said, “but there are a lot of good people here.”
Volunteers are always welcome, and donations can be made through the Pennsburg Open Line website, mail or in person at the office located at 452 Penn St.