The Allied Christians of Tioga (ACT) weekly dinner lost its home due to the record-setting flooding of September 2011, but still managed to serve over 3,200 last year, according to Dinner Director Ruth Harders.
The day the floods came
On Thursday, September 8th, the Owego United Methodist Church’s fellowship hall filled not with dinner guests, but with the flood waters of the Susquehanna River, destroying the facility and severely damaging the church above. It was three weeks before a new location could be negotiated and service resumed. Abide in the Vine Christian Fellowship on the east end of town was first to offer its services. Then arrangements were made for the more centrally located First Union Presbyterian Church hall at 211 Temple Street to become ACT’s permanent ‘home away from home’ until repairs to the Methodist Church facilities are completed.
Double hit: destruction and dislocation
Harders noted that 2011 dinner totals had been consistently exceeding the 2010 numbers. By the time the flood hit, 300 more dinners had been served than for the same period in 2010. Since then, however, attendance has dropped dramatically. She said that one problem has been the difficulty in getting word of the new location to a population that is not accessible by conventional means such as telephone or email. But another factor is the dislocation of a significant portion of the Owego population. ACT board member Joanne Daly reports finding major portions of Fox Street on Owego’s east side essentially abandoned. (The same situation was encountered by this reporter in many west side neighborhoods as well, such as those along Talcott Street and West Avenue.)
Board President Jeff Patricia expressed ACT’s deep appreciation for the hard work of the many people who made it possible for the weekly meal service to be resumed so quickly. He also asked that the local community help spread the word regarding the move to the Presbyterian Church hall. The day and time remain the same: Thursday evenings at 6:00 p.m. As always, in the event of inclement weather dinner service will be canceled if Owego schools are closed.
To find out more about ACT, or to see how you or your church can help, you can contact Jeff at 607-972-3092.