For the fourth year, a group of Doylestown Borough residents will be hanging donation bags on thousands of front doors around town the Saturday preceding the Super Bowl. It’s a tradition that keeps growing for a dedicated band of neighbors on Harvey Avenue.
Known as the Harvey Avenue Crew, the volunteers not only drop off the bags, they also return Super Bowl Sunday morning and collect the thousands of pounds of non-perishable food items left on front steps and porches all over the community. From there, they load the brimming paper bags into cars and trucks and, for several hours, deliver the food to the Bucks County Housing Group’s food pantry. Volunteers also help weigh the food and place items on shelves.
“That first year, I reached out to the Bucks County Housing Group to let them know what we were doing, “said Karen Greenhaus, who, along with her husband, Dan, organized the effort. “We learned then that February through May are the pantry’s toughest months to keep food on the shelves,” Karen said.
The group started with 500 bags in 2017, devising a map of streets and marking where they’d dropped off bags. “It was a little haphazard that first year – we thought 500 bags would take us farther than it actually did,” said Karen. “We were definitely surprised, excited and overwhelmed at the generosity of Doylestown residents – we quickly filled up cars, and had to unload at our house several times before we were able to collect all the donations. It took us six car loads to get all the donations to the food pantry.”
The first year the “crew” collected 2,500 pounds of food.
Greenhaus credits Simply Fresh by McCaffrey’s with donating grocery bags and Giant Market and Weis Market with contributing $25 gift cards, which were used to purchase food items to add to the total donation. Weis also donated bags for future food drives.
By 2018, the Harvey Avenue Crew proudly donated 4,500 pounds of food to the Bucks County Housing Group’s food pantry.
“Our third year we were all blown away by the results – 11,000 pounds of food,” Karen said. “Doylestown Public Services donated a large map of the town showing streets and houses and we mapped out areas, counted houses, divvied up bags and created teams to both deliver bags and pick up filled bags. The turnout from the friends is amazing – even had many young Harveyites helping as well,” she added.
Last year, Doylestown Borough recognized the organization’s efforts with a proclamation thanking it for its work to help the needy.
The Harvey Avenue Crew became a nonprofit service organization in 2019, allowing it to receive donations from companies, which can count the contribution as a charitable donation. The contributions allowed the group to go to Costco and B.J.’s and buy large quantities of food for the pantry.