Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network’s mission is to provide low income families and families in crisis the essentials to maintain a dignified standard of living while encouraging independence and self-sufficiency. PVEN provides free clothing, groceries and social service referrals to residents of Chestnuthill, Eldred, Hamilton, Jackson, Ross and Polk townships in Monroe County, PA.
Officially incorporated in 1989, PVEN is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization that has earned Guidestar’s Platinum Rating for charities, is a founding member of the Pocono Mountains Hunger Coalition, and works with Pocono Mountains United Way and other local charities to address poverty issues across the Poconos. We appreciate all who offer support; whether financial, volunteer time, or simply prayer.
PVEN took on significant new responsibility last year when it purchased a new facility to replace its aging and way-too-small building behind the local diner in Chestnuthill township. The move has opened many new doors to serve those in need.
From its new facility, PVEN is now able to provide a choice-style food pantry where recipients can choose the foods (much like shopping in a warehouse) that best suit their family’s needs and preferences. This not only results in less waste since people only take what they need, but it also gives our clients a renewed sense of dignity and self-worth. Restoring personal dignity is a key component to helping people get back on their own feet and break the cycles of poverty. Knowledge that one can control at least one small component of their life gives people the self-confidence to take charge of other aspects of their life, and helps them onto the path of self-sufficiency.
The new facility also gave PVEN an opportunity to expand its free clothing closet program. “Closet” is no longer an appropriate term though, since the program now has 3800 square feet (350 square meters) to display shoes and coats and blouses and trousers and undergarments for those in need. All clothing is free and presented in a retail-store format.
PVEN’s vision is a bit larger though. In keeping with its mission to help people return to self-sufficiency, PVEN is devoting the remainder of the new facility’s space (approx 7500 square feet – 700 square meters) for use by other agencies who can help address the root causes of poverty. Our hope is that this will include agencies that help people find jobs, quit smoking, escape abusive relationships, and learn financial and life skills. These services are currently unavailable in our community, so the PVEN facility offers a real opportunity for agencies with expertise in these areas to expand and offer services to local residents in need.