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‘Necessity package’ offers daily dose of items

Brenda Cobb Johnson delivering her bags to be given out to needy families at the Rural Ministry.

When it comes to community support, Chautauqua County Rural Ministry can claim that much of its success lies in those who give unconditionally. Northern Chautauqua County is rich in giving. People from every community have helped support and bring a better quality of life to our most vulnerable.

The Rural Ministry has a wonderful history of support in the form of monetary gifts, and food and shelter items coming from individuals, businesses and organizations in our area. Many concerned citizens regularly drop off food and household items to assist those in need. Local businesses donate meat and produce to feed the hungry and provide meals through the Friendly Kitchen. Yet we sometimes forget that those who struggle need everyday items like shampoo, toiletries, laundry detergent, and other essentials.

Today, the stressors individuals, seniors and families face show no sign of ebbing anytime soon. Vulnerable families and seniors continue to struggle to meet basic needs.

One local couple decided to meet the needs of our most vulnerable community members. Brenda and Ron Johnson are such people. Just when personal care items at the Rural Ministry were nearly exhausted, Brenda visited the Rural Ministry and asked what she could do to help those in need. The result of our conversation was the “Necessity Package.” Her visit came at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was just hitting our area.

A couple of weeks after our meeting, the Johnsons appeared back at the Rural Ministry with a truckload of large shopping bags filled to the brim with items what would help every member of the family. Their Necessity Packages contained daily hygiene items like toothpaste, soap, body wash, deodorant, as well as, paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap, laundry soap and so much more.

The Rural Ministry is grateful for each donation that finds its way to our doors. The gifts provided by community members have helped thousands over the years. Kathy Peterson, director of the Rural Ministry, said: “The amount of giving that we experience at the Rural Ministry never ceases to amaze me! This is such a giving and caring community, and we appreciate all that’s received.”

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