The Takery was formed four years ago to bring people together and give back to the community, and it continues to do so today.
On the third Thursday of every month from 4-5.30pm, The Takery is set up in the gazebo at Cameron Park in Sunbury. Among an assortment of free-to-go items, people can find baked goods, hot meals, pantry items, household products, blankets, and more.
On Thursday, November 17, The Takery will be offering a turkey dinner. Ian Speck, who prepares meals for the rally, said dinner will include turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, garnish, and more.
Ann Evans summarized the organization as “communities of faith working together”. Before retiring, Evans served as a minister for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley (UUCSV). Evans said she and leaders of other denominations initially formed a group called Sunbury Together.
“The main cohort has always been Rabbi Nina from Congregation Beth El as well as Sonia Ammar from the Islamic Center and Rich Fangman from Zion Lutheran Church,” she said. “We started to see if there were any questions at Sunbury that we could answer, but found that there wasn’t a whole lot that we as faith-based organizations could achieve.”
The realization caused the group to reconsider its focus, Evans said. “At different events, Rich, Nina and I were having conversations about what it meant to us to put our faith into action. It was beyond anything else we did,” she said. said, “We thought community mattered. We became community and supported each other.”
Pastor Rich Fangman of Zion Lutheran Church in Sunbury said community has always been important to him. “It’s always been very important to me to look beyond individual denominations and be aware of other communities of worship and to support and care for each other,” he said.
With a focus on community building and support, faith leaders decided to create The Takery. “The Takery is Nina’s baby. She thought if we had a place where people could have some sweetness in their lives,” Evans said.
What started as a monthly gathering with free baked goods four years ago has grown into an opportunity for those in need to get essentials. “It’s grown from a bakery to a full-service food pantry,” Evans said. “We only jump if there is danger for us, like a storm. People keep getting hungry.
The Takery also offers fresh homemade dishes. Evans said Ian Speck and his wife joined the group and offered to cook. “My wife and I had more time with the children outside the house, so we started preparing meals. We cook 60 to 75 meals a month,” Speck said.
Previous meals have featured mac and cheese, pierogies and pasta, according to Speck. “During the summer months, we had barbecues. I bought hot dogs and a grill … and we did everything there,” he said. “It was a big hit. We plan to do it again next year.”
As the weather turns colder, The Takery is offering blankets and coats for those in need, as they become available. “My room is filled with blankets and sometimes coats. We do what we can with what we get,” Evans said.
“We get anywhere from 35 to 60 people, depending on the day,” Fangman said. “Most people come right away and we have a 4 o’clock queue.”
Evans said: “Those who come are also those who help. When we show up with stuff, there are people waiting to transport and set it up.
According to its organizers, The Takery is a gathering that breaks down barriers and builds relationships. “It’s about bringing the community together,” Fangman said. “We want to break through the barriers that we put between those who are different.”
“When you live in a large community, the clergy of a denomination tends to hang out with those of the same denomination,” Evans said. “But we learn more about each other because we work with each other.”
As The Takery continues to grow, there are several ways to get involved. “It would be a great place to have other organizations that provide services, like medical support,” Evans said. “We are not an official organization, but we are grateful for donations.”
Evans said the band could use some help managing their social media. “Spreading the word about what’s needed and getting people to help is always a problem,” she said. “We could use support in social media operations.”
There is a place in this group for anyone who believes in building community, its leaders said. “We’re not a well-defined organization,” Fangman said. “We are people with a common interest in reaching out to the community.”
“We believe in helping others. It’s just a good feeling,” Evans said.
According to Evans, those involved in The Takery benefit from the organization just as much as those in need. “I can’t say enough about how fun it is, we smile all the time,” Evans said. “There’s nothing but looking down the street and someone coming up and saying, ‘Do you want to pray with me?'”
To get involved with The Takery, email Ann Evans at [email protected] or meet at Cameron Park in Sunbury on the third Thursday of the month from 4-5.30pm