A little communication can go a long way.
That is the lesson learned in the recent dispute between Shamokin officials and God’s Chuckwagon, the city-based mobile soup kitchen.
God’s Chuckwagon received unofficial approval three or four years ago to conduct its weekly food distribution pretty much anywhere in the city as long as nothing was being “sold.” So when Pastor James and Janet Bowers decided to expand their seasonal food distribution with a once-a-week distribution in the city in January and February, the assumption was that it would be OK.
But the location along West Pine Street posed a concern over safety and convenience of neighbors because of the use of the organization’s bus for food distribution in the residential neighborhood. And that prompted a certified letter from the city.
Suffice it to say that God’s Chuckwagon shouldn’t have assumed its new endeavor would be OK. A check with the city was in order.
And, at the city’s end, it was a bit over the top to send an intimidating certified letter to an organization that has done so much good for its citizens. As Bowers said, he understands the concerns, but a phone call would have sufficed.
The good news is the two sides did communicate, if a bit late, and all is settled. The wintertime distribution will take place, but inside the organization’s building at 600 W. Pine, not on the street. And God’s Chuckwagon won’t pull out of its hometown.
We’re not surprised at the quick settlement, as Mayor John Brown and his administration have been immersed in promoting good things for the community, and they know that God’s Chuckwagon serves an important need. As Brown said, “It is a benefit to the City of Shamokin and we don’t want to lose it. There are a lot of people that depend on him (Bowers).”
Indeed. And it’s not just folks in Shamokin. God’s Chuckwagon makes weekly stops in communities in three counties, and served an amazing 14,218 meals in 2018 — all of them free.
Despite the temporary disagreement, the city and God’s Chuckwagon are, in fact, pursuing the same goal: A better quality of life for the people of Shamokin.
(Monetary donations to help God’s Chuckwagon’s 2019 operations can be mailed to 600 W. Pine St., Shamokin 17872.)