Several months ago, when I began brainstorming and reaching out to organizations to see if "Anything But Routine" might be able to help in some capacity during the holiday season, I'd talked with a woman at one place who loved the idea and knew exactly how we could help them, but she wasn't entirely sure of the logistics. We went back and forth, back and forth, and then I never heard from her again.

Yesterday, she reappeared, saying she thought she might have figured it out, and she'd let me know ASAP.

Hers is an entirely different cause than the Franklin Street United Methodist Church food pantry, and just as deserving.

As soon as we get something in place, I'll be sharing the details. In the meantime, please be sure to listen to this week's episode to "meet" Barb Hunt, the director of the Franklin Street food pantry, and learn about their mission and how you can help!

Have a great weekend!


Let's help others this holiday season!

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As I mentioned in the season 3 trailer, because this season of "Anything But Routine" is airing during the holidays, it only seems right that we - you listeners and me producer - do something to help others have a good holiday, whichever holiday they might celebrate. I've been kicking around a few ideas for the last couple of months - some went nowhere, others fell through - but I'm pleased to announce that everything is in place to help an organization that helps many, not just during the holiday season but year-round.

The Franklin Street United Methodist Food Pantry, located in my hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is the oldest continuous food pantry in the Johnstown area; it began during the flood of 1977 and has been going ever since. The director told me that they provide assistance to those who need it throughout the year, but that those numbers multiply in November and December. Spoiler alert: the food pantry, and its director, will be spotlighted in an upcoming episode of "Anything But Routine," but I didn't want to wait until then to share the details of how you can help even if you don't live in the area.

The food pantry covers downtown Johnstown and also helps with nearby areas. They provide nonperishable food as well as bread, eggs, and meat, and they also provide toiletries and paper products. They assist, on average, 200 households a month, with a total of more than 400 people - and that's only during the year itself. As the director said, the level of need increases during the holiday months, so there's no such thing as too many supplies. When supplies run low, the pantry purchases the items they need so they can distribute those items to those who *can't* buy them themselves. Anything we can give, anything at all, will help them.

The food pantry accepts donations of both food and money, and people can donate both in person and via mail, so even if you live nowhere near Johnstown, you can still help. In terms of food goods, they're currently low on canned fruit, but anything anyone would like to donate is extremely helpful. They're also in need of soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and any paper items.

The Franklin Street U.M Food Pantry is located at the church itself. If you live locally and would like to drop something off, you may do so at the church office at 510 Locust Street, Johnstown, PA, 15901, Monday through Thursday, from 9:00am-12:00pm. If you would like to send a check, you may send it to this address, with the check made out to "United Methodist Human Services" - be sure to write "Food Pantry" on the memo line.

Please share this blog post and spread the word, and please consider donating what you can. Let's represent what "Anything But Routine" stands for and help others in need.

Have a great weekend!


No one should be hungry during the holidays. Please help if you can.

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  • Cheryl

The day after Halloween - November 1 - I noticed the Christmas commercials. A week or so *before* Halloween, I noticed the Christmas displays in the stores. Over the weekend, I noticed people commenting/complaining on Facebook that they're already hearing Christmas carols on the radio.

I know the Christmas season seems to start earlier and earlier each year, but I don't remember it ever starting THIS early before.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the Christmas holiday, and I start decorating the day after Thanksgiving, sometimes even Thanksgiving night. There's a warmth and coziness that comes with living amongst pretty lights and sparkles and and fresh greenery and baking smells and the spirit of giving that you don't get the rest of the year - but to me, that's sort of the point.

It's like the McRib. If McDonald's had it on the menu year-round, would there be a McRib frenzy every single day? Of course not. Thanks to smart marketing, McDonald's turned it into a novelty that's only available once a year, so people appreciate it all the more when it's around and snap it up like crazy. If it were *always* available, it would lose its appeal, and people wouldn't eat it nearly as often or as much.

Not that I'm comparing baby Jesus to the McRib, but you get what I mean.

For me, everything has its season, and November is the time to be especially thankful. Summer harvest is over and stored away so we have plenty to eat. Summer leaves turn brilliant colors as they disappear until next year so we can enjoy the beauty of the world around us. Summer heat gives way to brisk chills so we can draw in and be cozy and appreciate the snug security of home with our loved ones. Summer busyness and activities and on-the-go plans have come to an end so we can slow down and recognize how blessed we are.

I don't want to rush this.

The Christmas season and all its joy will come soon enough, and when it does, I'll throw myself into it. But in the meantime, I'm going to savor the season of Thanksgiving.

Have a great week!


Just one example of the beauty of the Thanksgiving season.

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