Members of Immanuel United Church of Christ understand the added pressure put on teachers and other school staff by the coronavirus.

To show its appreciation, the congregation in Shillington delivered sweets Wednesday to staff in the Gov. Mifflin School District.

The baked goods, made by Marc Bitler, owner of Door-to-Door Desserts, Shillington, were delivered to staff in each building.

Bitler, a Gov. Mifflin High School graduate and professional actor, moved back to Berks County and started the business after the coronavirus shut down live theater.

A member of the church, he was one of many to rise up and help with donations and offers of service.

“While these pandemic days have been filled with immense challenge for all, the generosity of our community has met those challenges with hope and compassion,” said the Rev. Megan Huesgen, pastor.

On the same March day Immanuel United Church of Christ closed its doors due to the coronavirus, a local businessman handed Huesgen a check.

“‘Here," he said,” Huesgen recalled, telling the story. “I know the church will know how to help.”

A few other individuals also offered donations to help meet the needs of harder hit neighbors, she said. Moved by their generosity, Huesgen challenged the congregation to double or triple the amount.

“The response was more than I could imagine,” she said. “To date close to $30,000 has been raised.”

The thousands of dollars, donated by the congregation, individuals and local organizations and businesses, allowed the church to expand its food ministry.

“We had teams of people making individual meals and delivering them to our elderly and so much more,” Huesgen said.

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