Pete Gives Back to his PA Community


One person from KenCrest’s Supported Independent Living program gives back to the community that’s helped him through volunteering.

By Sydney Kerelo

“Hi,” animatedly exclaims Pete from his wheelchair, perched behind the produce table.  

With crinkled eyes and a bright, radiating smile, Pete’s excitement is contagious as he helps prepare for Hatfield Meeting House’s bi-monthly food pantry.

Pete’s volunteered at the Hatfield Meeting House, Church of the Brethren, food pantry for about three years, and his excitement never wanes.

“I just love to give back,” he exclaims as multiple volunteers approach his table, infected by his warm smile and good spirit. Each volunteer boasts about Pete’s sunny disposition, loving him as if he were part of their own family.

Pete volunteering at the Hatfield Meeting House, Church of the Brethren // Photo by Sydney Kerelo

Pete is a part of KenCrest’s Supported Independent Living program and has worked with his Community Connection Coach, Annette Hanks, for 19 years.

“Pete gets about 19 hours of service from me a week,” says Hanks. “But we have such a good relationship that he can call me anytime, and I’ll be there for him.”

The duo’s relationship is uncanny; they food shop, cook meals, and even volunteer together. A few years ago, Pete told Hanks that he wanted to start giving back to his community; he wanted to volunteer. So, Hanks set out to find the perfect fit for him, the Grandview Hospital in Sellersville.

For many years Pete volunteered at the hospital until COVID-19 forced the duo to take a pause. 

“When COVID-19 happened, we lost our volunteering [at the hospital],” says Hanks. “But now, with COVID improving, Pete wanted to volunteer again, but not at the hospital. So, we turned our direction to Hatfield Church of the Brethren. He gives out food, and we help with any special projects.”

Pete sitting behind the produce table at the Hatfield Meeting House, Church of the Brethren Food Pantry // Photo by Sydney Kerelo

Since 2000, the Hatfield Food Pantry has run twice a month on the first and third Thursday of every month, allowing locals to enjoy fresh produce, dairy products, and more. According to Pastor Clay Moyer, the food pantry feeds approximately 130 families monthly.

Local organizations like the Boy Scouts, the local Post Office and Philabundance regularly donate fresh produce to the food pantry. But most of the pantry’s goods are received through government funding and grants. 

Inside the food pantry // Photo by Sydney Kerelo

Located at 133 Cowpath Road, Hatfield, Pa., the Hatfield food pantry is more than just a supplier of goods; it’s become a community, allowing visitors to shop for goods rather than pick up a pre-stocked bag. 

“This is better than most food pantries because people can pick up what they need rather than get a bunch of items they will never use,” says Hanks. 

In addition to volunteering at the Food Pantry, Pete does Meals on Wheels weekly in his apartment building. 

“It allows him to get out in his community and meet his neighbors, which he loves,” Hanks says.” 

Pete’s infectious laugh and incredible work ethic gained the attention of Mercy College of Social Workers. Each year, Hanks and Pete travel to Gwynedd Mercy University to talk to the College of Social Workers about his experiences and his independence and show that no matter what obstacles step in the way, you can achieve your goals.  

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