SAYRE – A popular community meal, sponsored by Epiphany Parish in Bradford County, has taken on added significance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Offered on the second Tuesday of every month, some recipients say the meal has helped them during the financial instability of 2020.

“We’ve lost a lot of income due to COVID and it helps feed our family,” Laura Houseknecht said while picking up meals for her family recently. “Thank you to everyone that helps out with this meal. It has been great. We’ve been coming for years and thank you during this very hard time.”

Because of the pandemic, Epiphany Parish has been serving its community meal in to-go containers, instead of holding a sit-down meal, to avoid large crowds and help maintain physical distancing.

“We prepare a hot meal with dessert,” parishioner William Hillyard explained. “They just have to drive up, tell us how many dinners they need and we load up their cars.”

Everyone is welcome at the community meal sponsored by Epiphany Parish. Meals are served between 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

“It is open to the whole community, not just to our parish,” Hillyard added.

Epiphany Parish receives a Social Justice Grant from the Diocese of Scranton to help pay some of the costs associated with the community meal. Generous gifts to the Diocesan Annual Appeal help support the Social Justice Grant Program and the important projects that receive funding.

“We’d like to thank the donors who give to the Annual Appeal, which in return comes back to us so we can continue to put on this service for our community,” Hillyard added.

Parishioners James and Patricia Briggs stopped by the community meal recently to pick up more than a dozen meals, which they share with their neighbors and friends.

“We usually get 14 dinners and where we live in the neighborhood is where we pass them out,” Patricia Briggs said.

By handing out the meals, the Briggs ensure their neighbors get a warm, nutritious meal at least once a month.

“We would like to thank all the parishioners who donate to the Diocesan Annual Appeal. We think it’s a very important mission for the church and we definitely appreciate the contributions,” Patricia added.

“This truly does help the local people and the needs of our community,” Father Andrew Hvozdovic, pastor, Epiphany Parish, said.

The community meal is just one of several programs that Epiphany Parish has applied for funding through the Social Justice Grant Program. In previous years, the parish has received funding to help the Chow for Children Program, an ecumenical program which feeds roughly 45-50 families per week during the school year, the Knights of Columbus annual coat drive which helped nearly 400 children last year as well as the Helping Hands of Bentley Creek.

“If it wasn’t for the great generosity of the donors of the Diocesan Annual Appeal, we wouldn’t have these outstanding outreach possibilities here in Bradford County,” Father Hvozdovic added.

For more information on all of the Diocesan ministries supported by gifts to the Annual Appeal, to view one of the regional Annual Appeal videos or to make a donation online, visit Gifts can also be made by calling the Diocesan Development Office at (570) 207-2250 or by sending a donation to: Diocesan Annual Appeal, 300 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503.