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KACS Emergency Assistance Services, KACS Food Cupboard, and KACS Bridges Out of Poverty are making headlines!

Inflation taking its toll

Inflation is taking a bite out of everyone's budget but according to KACS, the Kennett Area Community Center, increased costs are forcing some people to make tough choices: “Do I buy food or medicine? Pay this month’s rent or utilities?” And even KACS needs help. According to a press release, an increasing number of Chester County residents are looking for help with food, utilities, rent, and mortgage, and some are homeless or imminently homeless. From May 2022 to May 2023, the service organization reports their numbers almost doubled — from 494 households to 935 — coming to KACS Food Cupboard for help. Of those 935 households, 52 are first-timers needing assistance. Read more>>

Rising Costs = Rising Need
A record number of families seek KACS’ support.

Food, housing, and other essential, life-sustaining necessities are expenses that many of our neighbors are unable to balance – forcing them to answer questions like “Do I buy food or medicine? Pay this month’s rent or utilities?” KACS programs, especially KACS Food Cupboard, are experiencing a significant increase in cases – many more residents are coming to KACS for assistance with food, utilities, rent, and mortgage, and some are homeless or imminently homeless.
In May 2023, the KACS Food Cupboard (a.k.a. Kennett Food Cupboard) provided food to 935 households – a 189% increase from May 2022. Of these 935 households, 52 households came to KACS Food Cupboard for the first time.
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Diversified LLC Helps to Raise over $32,000 for Kennett Area Community Services

Diversified, LLC, a Wilmington-based financial planning firm, hosted a charity golf event to benefit Kennett Area Community Services (KACS) on May 22nd at DuPont Country Club. KACS serves the Kennett area by providing food and housing. With the help of generous sponsors and attendees, Diversified has raised over $32,000 for KACS. Diversified is managed and co-owned by CCO David Levy and President Andrew Rosen. “We’re proud to partner with a charity like KACS that benefits so many people in our local community.” said Andrew. “This will be a fun event for our community, and it supports a wonderful cause, so we’re excited to see everyone there.”
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Cheryl Miles to lead new KACS Housing Initiative

Program aims to create long-term solutions to the affordable housing shortage.
KACS is thrilled to welcome Cheryl Miles, a seasoned social worker, community champion, and advocate for racial and social justice to our leadership team as our first Community Housing Development Director. Cheryl will lead KACS efforts in creating and implementing activities associated with the NEW KACS Housing Initiative. Miles began her professional career as an Outreach Worker for the City of Philadelphia’s Homeless Program. Her knowledge, expertise, and experience in working with adults and families experiencing homelessness developed and mirrored the Nation’s evolution of understanding and addressing homelessness across the country. In doing so, she worked in direct care with street outreach, in emergency shelters, transitional housing, rehousing, Housing First, prevention, and diversion programs.
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Local agency provided assistance to nearly 500 township residents

Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) Executive Director Leah Reynolds gave the supervisors a post-pandemic update on the organization that included its work in providing emergency housing assistance; crisis and case management services; its food cupboard; its association with several local agencies; and the workshops it provides. The community’s need for food, Reynolds told the board, continues to be staggering. In the 2021-22 fiscal year, KACS Food Cupboard provided food to 4,119 individuals: 427 seniors, 2,350 adults and 1,342 children, who received over 616,002 pounds of food.
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Editorial: Shoes that fit

Perhaps the dirtiest and ugliest secret in this county of wealth and prosperity is that for all of its wealth and prosperity, Chester County has buried the vast and deep pockets of its poor so far beneath the rich soil of its landscape that they have become an invisible population. They exist on the periphery of our county’s brilliantly-designed concepts of progress – beneath all of its plans for the new century and every last blueprint that has been waxed poetic by elected officials, architects, builders and business leaders. They have been afforded little opportunity. They do not have a family that provides for their every need. They often live in the makeshift squalor of inadequate dwellings that are easily susceptible to flooding and neglect.
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Small Talk: KACS serves a community in need

Go ahead. Just imagine it. The heater is broken, the rent is late, and the refrigerator is almost empty. And your next paycheck won’t be available for another three days. Thankfully, somebody cares and is there to help. The KACS food pantry in Kennett Square resembles a medium sized supermarket. Kennett Area Community Service, or KACS, is there to help. KACS focuses on supplying basic human needs, such as food security, housing stability and a path forward to educate adults, in Southern Chester County.
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KACS seeks to bring affordable housing to so. Chester County

Kennett Area Community Services (KACS) focuses on basic human needs: food security, housing stability, and a path forward through educational workshops for adults in Southern Chester County. While the KACS Emergency Assistance Program has been extremely important to our community, we cannot only rely on short-term fixes to the systemic problem of housing instability. KACS is poised to become a developer of affordable housing in Southern Chester County by gaining the Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) designation. This designation empowers KACS to economically invest in residential properties in our service area that will become permanent, sustainable, affordable rental options for low-income families.
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Franklin Mint Credit Union celebrates opening new site for Longwood branch

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union (FMFCU) partnered with the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating their newly-relocated Kennett Square Branch (in the Longwood section of East Marlborough) to 891 E. Baltimore Pike. An abundance of members, friends, and the community-at-large were onsite for the event.
As part of the celebration, FMFCU Foundation presented a check to Kennett Area Community Service in the amount of $2500. Leah Reynolds, Executive Director (KACS), was proud to accept the donation to further their work in the community, connecting neighbors in need with food, shelter, and a path forward.
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From our lens: Fair housing for everyone

Jocelyn Pacitto and Janelle Benson of Kennett Square introduce their children to books provided by Arts Holding Hands and Hearts at a fair housing celebration on April 11 that invited 15 area agencies to provide housing-related information to guests. The event, held at the Mary D. Lang Elementary School and sponsored by Kennett Area Community Service and State Rep. Christina Sappey, recognized April as National Fair Housing Month and the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act that prohibits housing discrimination.
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Finding First Light – Leah Reynolds

Leah’s pursuit of finding first light drew her to photography. Blending great pictures with powerful quotes is one of her gifts.
This week we make A Place in the Conversation for Leah Reynolds. Leah returns to share her passion for photography and good literature. If you follow Leah on FB, you know she has a gift for blending powerful images with quotes that make you think.
In this episode, Leah shares how what drew her to photography and how bringing the two mediums together feeds her soul.

Cheryl Miles - Empowering Black Women and Girls in Chester County

Caring for others comes naturally to Cheryl Miles. Devoted to bringing about lasting change, Cheryl has united the community around a number of important issues affecting marginalized groups in Chester County.
Cheryl is a social worker with over 30 years of experience advocating for some of society's most vulnerable populations. After earning her BSW from West Chester University and MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, she is now the Community Housing Development Director for KACS.
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Casa Guanajuato in Kennett welcomes next generation

“Some are taking off and some are landing,” to repeat an airplane analogy that Casa Guanajuato organization is using as they recruit the younger generation for their Executive Board. Gonzalo Cano is the newly elected President; Roberto Ayllon, Vice President, and Lenda Carrillo, Secretary.
President, Gonzalo Cano’s day job is serving as a case manager at Kennett Area Community Services (KACS. ) He reports that he experiences firsthand the mental health issues that arise when a new migrant arrives without knowing the English language or how to fit into the American culture.
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A Place in the Conversation – Leah Reynolds

Kennett Area Community Services executive director Leah Reynolds joins Nick and Dan to share how KACS serves our community.
Leah shares the need within our community, the work of KACS, and how you can join in to help.

KACS to hold 12th annual Empty Bowls event on Feb. 24

The truth is often the most bitter pill to get down. When Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) Executive Director Leah Reynolds spoke at the organization’s annual Empty Bowls fundraiser in February of 2020, she told the audience that 550 community households were using the services of the KACS Food Cupboard every month. When Reynolds speaks to the audience who attends KACS’ 12th annual Empty Bowls event on Feb. 24, she will inform them that 550 has grown to 748 and shows very little signs that it will ever decrease. Sharp against these alarming statistics and in the growing reality that reports a surge in homelessness in Chester County, the importance of the agency’s largest fundraiser is not lost on Reynolds.
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Chester County Churches working together to feed the hungry

KENNETT SQUARE Many pastors in Chester County are demonstrating that they truly can work together across denominational lines to meet a dire community need. During this Lenten season, 11 congregations...
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Editorial: More and more dots

On the evening of September 26, 2022, Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) Executive Director Leah Reynolds met before the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors. She came with a seven-page power point presentation, telling statistics and a fair request. The agency’s resume was thick with progress: In 2022, as southern Chester County’s only agency of its kind, KACS provided housing and crisis support, food and a path forward for 1,648 households and 4,601 individuals who live in the Oxford Area School District, the Avon Grove School District, the Kennett Consolidated School District and the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.
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SEASON OF GIVING: Local residents, businesses finding ways to help less fortunate

NEW GARDEN — Folks across the region are rising up to help others this holiday season. People, who can, may certainly help the homeless or those less fortunate with gifts for children, food and gas gift cards, said Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz. “We should always remember our seniors too and support our local senior centers that offer so much within our communities for seniors year-round. Check in on your elderly relative or neighbor and make sure they are OK. Bring them a dish you make yourself. They will love you for it,” she said. From New Garden to West Chester and elsewhere, people are donating toys for children whose families are struggling financially to make ends meet this December.
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Chester County Bar Foundation awards $204,500 in grants

WEST CHESTER — The Chester County Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chester County Bar Association, awarded $204,500 in grants to local non-profit organizations. All grants will help support the foundation’s mission to help Chester County Citizens understand, gain access to, and benefit from our legal system by providing support for programs and services related to the law. Chester County Bar Foundation President John Fiorillo and the Foundation’s Board carefully reviewed grant applications from dozens of local 501c3 organizations. Fiorillo said, “due to the generosity of the Sponsors and Donors who have given to the Bar Foundation this year, we were able to support some great charitable initiatives.”
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As inflation rages, local food drive aims to help families struggling

KENNETT — November brings the return of a traditional season in holiday charitable giving across Chester County and around the nation. For the second consecutive year, The Flats at Kennett is holding a food drive to support people struggling with hunger in the region. The donation will be made to the Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) to help support its local food pantry. “Our goal is to collect more than a van full of items most in need for the KACS food pantry,” Kathryn Sylvia, The Flats at Kennett community manager. “The Flats will be matching a certain percentage of the donations,” she added.
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Chester County Legislators Meet with Nonprofits to Discuss Housing Experiences in Chester County

The group, comprised of Chester County elected officials, representatives of community nonprofits, and local advocates met to hear testimony and a call to action. Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell, in partnership with several nonprofit community organizations, hosted a legislative gathering, at the West Chester University Graduate Center. The goal of the gathering was to share some of the voices heard during recently held housing focus groups, and to explore ways legislators and community groups can work together to ensure affordable and accessible housing is available to all residents of Chester County.
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Empty shelves: KACS continues fight to deliver shelter, food to the homeless

By Richard L. Gaw — It is as dramatic as it is barren, and it tells the absolute story of a local crisis without uttering a single word. Up and down the shelves in the storage and shopping areas of the Kennett Food Cupboard at Kennett Area Community Services on West Cedar Street, the metallic steel rows are normally filled with the essential items needed by the families who use the agency’s services. Baby wipes. Diapers. Jelly. Fresh vegetables. Rice and beans. In the years before COVID-19, an average of 550 families used the Food Cupboard every month, and 90 percent of the food was donated.
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Hundreds of underprivileged students in Kennett area to get free school supplies

KENNETT SQUARE—Hundreds of underprivileged students will not go to school unprepared this year thanks to a Longwood Rotary Club book bag project. The bag and supplies are expected to save each parent about $70.


Advocates ask for change to support displaced renters impacted by continuous floodwaters when natural disasters strike

AVONDALE — When the floodwaters of Tropical Storm Ida hit the borough, 86 people became displaced. Advocates of civil and social service organizations attended the Borough Council meeting on August 19 to report to the council the human effects of the latest flooding in Avondale.


Chester County retirement community helps Avondale flood victims

1,400 pounds of food donated; over $16,000 raised
KENNETT SQUARE — When the remnants of Hurricane Ida blew through Chester County in early September, gratefully, the residents who live at Kendal~Crosslands Communities and the staff members who work there were safe and secure. However, quickly they realized their local neighbors were not and felt called to assist.


KACS, The Garage, & the community answer the call in Ida’s wake

Copious amounts of rain and wind from Hurricane Ida led to flooding and the displacement of 86 residents from Avondale Apartments in Southern Chester County. Some of the tenants experienced up to three feet of water in their first-floor units.


Honoring Leah Reynolds, a community hero

Everyone knows that an organization is dependent on many roles and persons to carry out its mission. In most cases, Kennett Area Community Services would be the first to say that they are a small but mighty organization because of their hard-working staff, Board and many volunteers. They have regularly served 550 families with 900 children on a monthly basis with food items for a 7-10 day supply.


Michael and Nancy Pia donate land for new home for KACS

Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) has been looking for a new home to continue to serve those in the community who need assistance in meeting their basic needs. KACS is a nonprofit organization based in Kennett Square Borough that operates a food cupboard and provides a variety of services to individuals and families in need. That search for a new, larger home has intensified in the last year as KACS has seen a significant increase in requests for assistance as families have navigated through the challenges of the pandemic.


One-acre plot on township property to be converted into community food source

On Nov. 7, 2018, the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors announced that the township had completed the purchase of the Spar Hill Farm, a 103-acre property at the confluence of Burnt Mill, Center Mill and Old Kennett roads. At their online meeting on March 17, the board voted to donate one of those acres back, for the best of reasons.