At noon on a recent Friday, Sandi Fryer had already been hard at work as executive director of the Colonial Neighborhood Council since 4 a.m. An early start, she agrees, but a necessary one given that Conshohocken, Plymouth or Whitemarsh residents who need groceries from CNC’s community food pantry start lining up at 5 a.m., and two hours later, the agency’s Meals on Wheels crew begins packing the coolers earmarked for 72 recipients on seven routes.
Besides, Fryer notes, in the quiet peace of dawn, she’s free to answer email, collate phone messages and do other paperwork that takes a backseat to more pressing issues as the day progresses — in short, the ever-changing requests for assistance this small nonprofit deals with on a budget so tight she even dips into her own pocket to pay for certain office essentials, writes M. English in The Times Herald.
Despite her quarter-century at CNC, Fryer’s enthusiasm for the agency’s mission hasn’t flagged. Sure, she allows, encountering misfortune on a regular basis can be draining, but her commitment to the work she and her handful of mostly volunteer helpers do day-in-and-day-out is obvious.
“You hear one sad story after another,” she says. “People who are living in their cars … or worse. People who truly don’t have enough money to buy groceries or pay a heating bill. People who can’t afford to buy school supplies — or medicine for their kids. Sometimes, you just scratch your head and think, ‘How do you get to that place?’ But we don’t scrutinize or judge anyone … because sometimes life just knocks people down for no apparent reason.
“Truthfully, our biggest need is financial — money — but we’re grateful for whatever people can do … or donate,” Fryer says. “The schools and churches and civic groups in the [Colonial School District) are wonderful. Groups like [Conshohocken-Plymouth-Whitemarsh] Rotary, our terrific board members who are so committed to the work we do here, we honestly couldn’t survive without the support we get from all of these people and groups.”
CNC also operates an in-house thrift shop, The Well, at 107 E. Fourth Ave.
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