Local nonprofits team with district
The organizations include Quakertown Cares, created by former Quakertown Community School District (QCSD) administrator Jim Newcomer, Shop With A Cop, organized by QCSD School Resource Officer Bob Lee, and Quakertown Community Outreach, directed by Karen and David Hammerschmidt. These nonprofits work with district social worker Kirsten Cochran, who coordinates with them to make certain the neediest families benefit from these programs.
“These grassroots organizations definitely make Quakertown a stronger community,” said Ms. Cochran, a member of the Quakertown Cares board. “They really make Quakertown a special place.”
This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating unemployment and the medical needs of many families, she said more than 500 families – a record number – have been helped. When combined with the collections of food and gifts from each QCSD school, needed resources were provided to families unable to afford them. “It’s been awesome,” said Ms. Cochran.
Ms. Cochran said families have told her that without these programs this holiday season their children “would have had nothing. For hundreds of our families, it made the holidays for their kids. They had presents, they had food.”
The efforts of Quakertown Community Outreach helped 340 QCSD children for the holidays, raising $45,000 worth of gifts. QCO also distributed $10,000 in Giant gift cards from Quakertown Cares to district families. Shop With A Cop, which raised $50,000, helped 180 youngsters and their families.
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought out the shining stars in Quakertown,” Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner said. “These shining stars are kind and thoughtful people who think of others before themselves.”