Thursday marked the eighth year of operation for Destinations-Bradford. Executive Director David Livingston shared the history of the agency and also a little about future hopes.
“Destinations-Bradford began on Oct. 17, 2011 and was started by four lovely ladies. Those ladies are Rebecca Plummer, Catina Philips, Allison Ambrose, and Rhonda Race. Destinations-Bradford originally began as a food and supply pantry. However, it was recognized that the needs of the Bradford Area went beyond just food and hygiene items,” Livingston explained via email. “Through much prayer and by the grace and guidance of God, the ministry grew and now offers four programs. The Emergency Food and Supply Pantry, Emergency Fuel Cards for Medical Appointments, Emergency Housing for the Homeless, and in addition Destinations-Bradford also administers the Emergency Pharmaceutical Assistance Program.”
Livingston broke down the various ways that Destinations-Bradford serves the community, noting they assist between 150-200 people each month and approximately 3,000 people on average each year.
“We think of the mouths that have been fed, those that had a roof over their head when they needed it most, the children and adults alike that made it to a vital medical appointment when there seemed to be no other way to afford the cost of travel, and those that were able to obtain the medication they needed to recuperate and survive,” he said. “Helping those in need is why this ministry, God’s ministry, began, and it is what we continue to do for those in need throughout the Bradford Area for as long as we can.”
Livingston also shared his view of the agency’s impact locally.
“If one word could adequately sum up what this ministry is all about or the vision of this ministry, it would be ‘Hope,’” Livingston said. “Since I have been here as the new executive director, I have seen dozens of individuals walk through the doors of Destinations-Bradford in despair and expressing feelings of fear and hopelessness.
“I have been blessed beyond measure at seeing these same individuals walk out these doors with a renewed sense of hope as Destinations-Bradford was able to serve and provide for their needs. Life can turn on a dime and any of us could be that next person walking through the doors of Destinations-Bradford in need of help.”
With eight years of helping others marked out, Livingston is ready for bigger things in the future. However, those plans may prove challenging without sufficient funding.
“Our goal for the future is to grow the ministry and expand into areas that we currently do not serve. There are folks in need everywhere and if Destinations-Bradford can flourish the way we would like it to in the future, then perhaps we can expand our services into these areas and provide for the needs of many more,” Livingston said. “At present, as effective and essential as Destinations-Bradford has been in supporting the local community needs, we have barely touched the tip of the iceberg in meeting all the needs of local area residents.
“Unfortunately, the cost to run an organization like Destinations-Bradford is substantial and in the past year, the amount of monetary support from the community has sadly decreased. We are hoping and praying that it will improve so we can continue this life-altering ministry supporting our neighbors in Bradford and beyond.”
When it comes to help from the community, Livingston shared a few ideas for those interested in participating in the ongoing work.
“First, we would like to ask for your prayers. Prayers that we stay attentive to the voice of the Lord and the needs throughout the community,” he said. “We would also ask for prayer that those who have been blessed financially (and are able to help this ministry to continue our mission and grow), would search their heart of hearts and become a supporting member of Destinations-Bradford.”
Livingston also explained that friends, neighbors, and businesses throughout Bradford that would like to become a supporting member of Destinations-Bradford and help meet the needs of their neighbors and friends can make a monthly pledge or make a one-time donation to Destinations-Bradford, 1 Main Street, Bradford, PA 16701.