Share This Page

Tarentum church sells and donates gently used items as part of ministry

| Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, 12:32 a.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Mackenzie Fuller, 8, of Tarentum, looks through clothes available at the Central Presbyterian Church in Tarentum on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. The church's clothing closet is open each Saturday in the basement of the church at 305 Allegheny St. The closet is part of the congregation's community outreach.

About a dozen shoppers eyed the clothing racks in the basement of the Central Presbyterian Church as Tarentum's Christmas parade was about to start a few streets away on Saturday.

That brought smiles to clothing closet coordinator David Rankin and other volunteers.

The church — founded in 1888 and now in a well-kept 100-year-old building — sells gently used clothing and shoes for men, women and children at reasonable prices and donates items to people who need a hand.

At times, the Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center gives vouchers to some of the women and children who stay in the center's shelter so they can search for clothing in the church's basement fellowship hall.

The clothing closet is a ministry based on hope and caring, trust and prayer. And love, volunteers agreed.

“We have some volunteers who come in to help, and they aren't even members here,” Rankin said.

On Saturday, five families and a handful of individuals took part in a fried fish dinner and then wandered in the fellowship hall and a smaller room at the rear to look at the clothing.

Shopper Abby Moore, a resident of Cherry Blossom Assisted Living in Tarentum, was enthralled.

“I'm so glad. I'm here to get winter clothes,” she said, pausing to look at the selection.

Rankin said the clothes closet started slowly after donations to the congregation's fall harvest festival about four years ago.

“We're at a crossroads here. People may not be members, but they live and come and go all around us and some need our help,” he said.

“We never know how many we'll have for the clothing closet. Sometimes it's six. Sometimes 16,” Rankin said.

The closet once occupied only some tables at the rear of the fellowship hall. On Saturday, there was room for some dinner tables and little else due to the amount of clothing, some of which was new and still adorned by sales tags.

Many clothing fixtures were purchased from closing stores in Tarentum and Cranberry.

More than a half-dozen wooden clothing racks were handcrafted and stained by volunteers who understood the need to help others.

The Rev. Robert Dayton watched the shoppers and volunteers. Then he smiled.

The “retired” pastor, who has been in Central's pulpit about six months, said the outreach of the small congregation is considerable.

Sunday's bulletin includes hours for the Holy Smokes Cafe food ministry, several Alcohol Anonymous meetings, senior citizen line dancing and a free Thanksgiving dinner for the community this Thursday.

Each month, the congregation collects new children's undergarments and socks for the clothing closet.

At Holy Smokes Cafe, people are encouraged to attend worship services upstairs but some chose to stay downstairs to talk and enjoy the reduced price meals, said cook and co-owner Scott Mishler of Cheswick.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.