When Allentown State Hospital (ASH) closed, one of its former nurses approached St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of Allentown about offering community opportunities to people who’d been discharged. St. Mark’s agreed to help, and in 2011 Sharing Life was born. Each month, Sharing Life hosts a monthly lunch, served with entertainment and educational activities, at the church. During the event, attendees catch up with peers from the hospital, make new friends, and reconnect with the faith community. From a humble start with only 12 people in attendance, the program has grown tremendously—many months the number of participants tops 100 and includes parishioners and people discharged from ASH.
In 2013, the program also began offering weekly activities—from knitting and crocheting to candy making and herb gardening—on luncheon’s off weeks. That same year, it also reached out to Wernersville State Hospital (WeSH) to invite individuals who had been transferred there from ASH to participate in Sharing Life, connecting them to their home community. WeSH has been participating ever since.
Sharing Life’s beauty is that everyone—consumers, parishioners, and community members—benefit from these gatherings that bring people together to “share life.” Learn more on Sharing Life’s website.