Source: Delaware County News Network / Peg DeGrassa
At first glance, the well-dressed crowd, sipping wine and nibbling on hummus and brie while strolling the beautiful grounds of the Tyler Arboretum on a balmy summer evening, would appear like people just out to enjoy themselves. However, many who participated in the Fourth Annual Cityteam Chester Night of Hope Thursday had a completely different motive for being there. Participants came out to make a difference in the lives of the many men, women and children struggling in poverty and homelessness throughout the Greater Delaware Valley.
Focused on raising money for feeding the hungry and Cityteam’s Hope Café, the 2016 Night of Hope drew over 100 attendees. The event brought awareness to Cityteam’s mission of helping those in need with dignity and grace and giving hope to everyone who walks through their door.
After showing a short film about Cityteam and the hand up given to those served there, Nancy Craskey, Cityteam Director of Development, explained the key to the program’s success.
“Our success is not due to Cityteam. Our success is God at work. We are unlike other 30 day programs, because we are God-centered. If you don’t put God in the center of all things, it won’t work,” she said.
John Clifford, Director of Food Service at Cityteam, was also part of the program. Clifford spoke about his own battle with addiction, homelessness and other issues until finally finding hope and a chance at a new life at Cityteam.
“As soon as I started to give to others and stop focusing on myself is when my life started to turn around,” Clifford told the crowd who sat in silence as they listened to his experience. “Helping and giving to others made me feel so much better about myself. Cityteam changed my life. It was God’s path that brought me there.”
Emceed by Theresa Murtagh, who with her husband Paul have been longtime supporters of Cityteam, the program invited guests to pledge specific dollar amounts to buy groceries and food boxes for families in need, as well as gas, insurance and maintenance on the vehicles that transport the incoming food to Cityteam. Staff and volunteers travel to over ten different grocery stores in Delaware and Chester County each week to pick up food donations. Cityteam is a non-profit, operating solely on private, individual and corporate donations.