SUNBURY — Jennifer Angeli picked up a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday from her new friends at The Arc Susquehanna Valley in Sunbury.
The Mount Carmel woman said she recently joined the Arc Susquehanna Valley, a nonprofit membership organization in Sunbury committed to promoting awareness, opportunities, quality programs and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. The free meal helps because her mother is blind and she is unable to cook.
"It's wonderful," said Angeli at 326 Market St. "A lot of people don't have money for Thanksgiving. The Arc helps me because it allows me to get out and do stuff. It feels like I can meet other people like me."
Arc volunteers prepared 80 free meals for members and their families. In previous years, an in-person meal was provided, but restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic prevented that from happening this year, according to Arc Board President Deb Brubaker.
"The membership appreciates it," said Brubaker. "This gives them something to do, communicate with peers and meet new friends."
Members have been meeting virtually since the start of the state shutdowns in March. Many of the members have difficulty handling it, she said.
"We're happy to be able to serve the community as volunteers," said Brian Habermehl, a Northumberland man with cerebral palsy and a self-advocate leader. "We did it last year as a meal and this year as take out."
John Shosh, a volunteer from Northumberland, said now more than ever is the time to give.
Arc serves 1,500 unique individuals in Northumberland, Snyder, Union, Montour, Columbia, Lycoming and Clinton counties.