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Bridget McCormack didn’t set out to change the world. But that’s, in fact, what she is doing.
McCormack, a physical therapist in Premier Orthopaedics’ Broomall location, has lived a life vested in others’ well-being. She works hands-on with patients recovering from surgery or injury, and takes pride and pleasure in seeing them regain independence. “When people come to us, their needs are more than physical,” she says. “They want to feel like themselves again. Therapy is not just ‘muscles and bones.’ We treat the whole person to help rehab the injury and get them back to where they want to be.”
McCormack always knew she wanted to (and could) do more. She and her husband Cam, also a physical therapist, saw staggering signs of poverty throughout Delaware County. After trying to involve their kids in a community food pantry but not finding an organization that would take young volunteers, the couple decided to strike out on their own. Their mission was two-fold: to help those living among us who struggle to put food on their tables, and to set a good example for their two children.
So, in the summer of 2016, the McCormack family opened TLC Food Pantry at their church – the Temple Lutheran Church, in Havertown. Thanks to the generous donations that began pouring in from local businesses, schools, service organizations and members of the community, the pantry was an immediate success. “Today, we currently serve 30 to 40 families each month, providing them with food and fellowship when they join us,” McCormack says. “We also employ the youth in our church as well as the community, through groups like the Girl Scouts, on service days and projects that benefit our patrons. Our hope is that the work done at TLC Food Pantry will help one generation heal and show the next that they can make a difference just by stocking shelves or helping one of our patrons to their car with their groceries.”
McCormack recalls one especially grateful couple. “They came to us when we opened,” she says. “The wife was in poor health, but has since gotten better and no longer comes back. Her husband got a job in the school system and has been moving up the ranks. They are also more involved in their church.”
Others pay it forward, bringing supplies back to the pantry that helped them in their own time of need. McCormack gets a thrill every time she goes to the supermarket and sees a former patron there. “They are buying their own groceries,” she says, “I take that as a sign that they are getting back on their feet.”
TLC operates on the fourth Saturday of every month, from 1-3 p.m. It’s run entirely by mission partners from Temple Lutheran and community volunteers of all ages. She credits her core group for helping her family keep it organized and the community for their continued support. The pantry, constructed by volunteers with the help of donations from local grocery and home improvement stores, is bright, airy and stocked similar to a traditional market – with everything from food – perishable and fresh, to toiletries and household items such as laundry detergent and paper towels.
Most of us would say it can get difficult when juggling a career and family in our own lives, but the McCormacks have figured out a way to succeed at both while serving the needs of their community. It’s a responsibility that they take very seriously, have fun at, and extract a great deal of satisfaction from. Bridget advises others who want to get involved to “figure out your corner, who you want to help, and lean on your network. The need is there and the community is willing to pitch in.”
“At the end of the day, it’s an awesome adventure that we are on,” she concludes, “and if we support just one person it’s worth it. We are helping others and showing our kids the right things to do. It’s why we were put on this Earth.”
February 16-22 is National Random Acts of Kindness Week. Premier Orthopaedics salutes Bridget McCormack and her family for their community work, along with all who strive to pay it forward and change the world we live in.
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Premier Orthopaedics is the largest orthopaedic group in Delaware and Chester counties. Premier provides patients with the full spectrum of orthopaedic services; including bone, muscle and joint care. Patients trust our specialists for their experience, expertise and commitment to exceptional patient care.