Connellsville Area Community Ministries adds 1 day to monthly operational schedule

| Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, 6:27 p.m.

Starting Sept. 7, Connellsville Area Community Ministries will add a day of operation each month.

Chip Rowan, executive director, said the change is being made to meet the needs of those who work.

The ministry is open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Sept. 7, the organization will be open on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All of the ministry areas will be available on the first Saturday of each month, including the food pantry.

The Care & Share Boutique will be open for shopping as well as the expanded housewares area. The medical equipment ministry will be operating.

Food pantry participants whose schedules still allow them to come on the regular days, the first three Tuesdays and Thursdays of each month, are encouraged to use these days. The Saturday hours are intended for the clients who work and can't make it to the midweek days, said Rowan.

“We have all the latest styles and plenty to choose from in the Care & Share Boutique. We are thankful for all the donations we get. We welcome everyone to shop here. I think they will enjoy the shopping and our low prices,” said Sharon Wilson, who has been the boutique supervisor for eight years.

“We have 10 wonderful ladies who volunteer at the boutique. Some work every day, and that is what keeps us going. We have quite a bit of inventory and can always use more volunteers to help sort the clothing, check for tears or missing buttons and mark it,” said Wilson.

The housewares department has grown and now includes small appliances such as coffee makers, toasters, glassware, wall decor, crafts and more, she said.

“Quite an assortment,” Wilson said. “Our donations have increased by 10 times since we moved to our new location here in downtown. At the Community Center we always joked that we were the best kept secret in town. We often had people come in and say they had never known we were there. We are more visible now. It was a good move, and we certainly have more room. That has also helped,” she said.

“I can remember a time in the former location when we were completely out of shoes to put out. I can't say that now, we have boxes and boxes of shoes now. It's been wonderful.”

There are churches that have projects that result in new items donated to the Care & Share Boutique. Members of one local church buy packages of new underwear and donate. Many people bring in shirts, pants and purses. Men's jeans are always needed because working men go through them fast, said Wilson. The men's jeans that arrive stained are marked as work clothes and often sold for 25 cents, she said.

The Saturday hours will include dropoffs of donations, which is easily done at the back of the building on Orchard Alley. Simply drive up and ring the bell, and a volunteer will come out to help unload.

It is important that those who come to the food pantry on the first Saturday bring proof of employment.

The new Saturday hours were set for those who cannot get there during the regular weekday times that were not fitting some schedules.

The Wesley Family Clothesline at Wesley United Methodist Church on Pittsburgh Street is also open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month, giving those interested a chance to shop at both places on the same day.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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