This year's winner of Chautauqua Leadership Network's Season of Sharing fundraiser is Meg Pickard, wellness director at the YMCA of Jamestown and a member of CLN's Class of 2003. Pickard chose God's Pantry, a ministry of First Covenant Church in Jamestown, to receive $500 in Wegmans grocery gift certificates.
According to Nancy Stein, director of the pantry program, "This gift comes at just the right time. We had been praying because the demand has significantly increased with the closing of the Joint Neighborhood Project."
Stein indicated that God's Pantry is currently serving approximately 135 families a month. In addition to providing food, the pantry makes available toiletries and household products - items that most pantries are unable to provide because of funding restrictions.
Meg Pickard, (second from left) winner of Chautauqua Leadership Network’s Season of Sharing Fundraiser, presents $500 in Wegmans gift cards to Adam Rohler, pastor, First Covenant Church to provide items for God’s Pantry. Also in photo Left Matt Ewalt, past president of CLN, God’s Pantry volunteers Eunice Crissman, Brenda Paden and Linda Moriarty.
On Dec. 20, radio personality Dennis Webster drew Pickard's name on the air during Jim Roselle's WJTN Talk Radio Show. As the winning ticket holder, Pickard received $500 in Wegmans gift cards for herself plus $500 in gift cards to be donated to a community food pantry of her choice.
"As a single mother I know it can be a challenge to make ends meet," Pickard said. "I'm very grateful to both CLN and Wegmans for the opportunity to be a part of sharing this blessing with others in our community."
Now in its fifth year, the CLN fundraiser helps to raise much-needed funds so CLN can continue its mission in training effective community leaders. CLN members sell the tickets in the weeks leading up to the drawing. Community-minded Wegmans generously donates a $250 gift card toward the award.
"Because Chautauqua Leadership Network's focus is community leadership for a better Chautauqua County, what more appropriate fundraiser than to give a portion of our proceeds directly back to the community," said Pene Hutton, director of Chautauqua Leadership Network.
"The Season of Sharing fundraiser assists CLN carry out its mission of identifying and nurturing regional leaders to meet the challenges of today and the opportunities of tomorrow," said Jodi Rzepka, CLN president. "It provides a unique opportunity for the friends, families and colleagues of CLN members, alumni and sponsors to demonstrate servant leadership by putting the needs of others first."
God's Pantry has been in operation for more than five years. It is open on the second and third Tuesday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visits are permitted once per month, per family. All pantry staff are volunteers, so that donations result in a 100 percent distribution in the form of food and supplies.
Believing the improvement of Chautauqua County is directly linked to the quality of its leadership, Chautauqua Leadership Network helps members develop effective leadership skills for both their place of employment as well as the community. More information is available at www.chautauqualeadership.org.