Sojourner Truth Ministries sets big goal

It’s the season for both giving and receiving, and Sojourner Truth Ministries in Williamsport is hoping to get some much-needed funds to help it continue its charity work.

The mission, an affiliate of the United Methodist Church, has been holding a fundraising drive since last month that will last until the end of the year. During the month of December, all donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $5,000, according to Director of Services the Rev. Velinda Webb-Smith.

Dave Miele, president of the board of directors, said that while raising money for the operations of the mission as a whole always are ongoing, they like to look for different ways to approach it. The mission is trying to raise $100,000 for the next year, and it would seem that they’re off to a good start.

“We’re looking for 100 individuals who can donate $1,000 each, and we’ve already had three people do that,” Miele said.

Donations in other amounts have been coming in steadily as well, and Webb-Smith said they’ve already raised “several thousand” so far. Cowden’s Lycoming Bakery, 220 Curtain St. in South Williamsport, has raised $700 in donations, with the bulk of the fundraising work coming from owner Matt Cowden’s three children.

The funds that are raised go toward the mission’s many services, especially the Sojourner Cafe, which is open to anyone who needs a meal and feeds a large number of people.

“We feed almost 3,000 people every month,” Webb-Smith said.

The cafe offers breakfast – including cereal, milk, toast and bagels – and lunch every Monday through Friday, and a hot breakfast made up of dishes such as ham, potatoes, grits, eggs and hash browns is served on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The weekend meals usually are funded by churches or other charitable groups, and until this year, the mission received grant money from the Lycoming County United Way that went toward the weekday meals. However, that grant money will be cut in 2014, Webb-Smith said.

Donations, which are tax-deductible, can be mailed directly to Sojourner Truth Ministries c/o Treasurer Philip Wolf, 501 High St., Williamsport, PA 17701.