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Connellsville ministry group offers helping hand

| Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, 8:34 p.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Volunteer Kathy Ulery processes paperwork Thursday, December 5, 2013, at Connellsville Area Community Ministries Food Pantry in Connellsville.

Whether people need clothes, help with their utilities or a safe place to stay, Connellsville Area Community Ministries can help, Executive Director Chip Rowan says.

This ministry was founded nearly 40 years ago to help people in need.

“We are called to help our neighbors,” Rowan said. “This ministry enables us to help our neighbors.”

Located at 110 W. Crawford Ave., Connellsville Area Community Ministries offers many services:

• Crisis Ministry, which helps people with their utilities. Trinity House, part of this program, offers shelter to those in need.

• Care and Share Boutique, with used clothing and other household items.

• Food Pantry, the largest in Fayette County, according to Rowan.

• P.U.M.P. (People Under Mission to People), assists with minor home repairs.

• Medical Program, offers medical equipment to those in need.

• Partners for Life, a mentoring program that focuses on improving life skills.

Rowan says one of the unique qualities about Connellsville Area Community Ministries is its ability to help people with multiple needs.

“We had a family — a single mother with children — who needed shelter, which we provided through Trinity House,” Rowan said. “We also provided clothing and other items through the boutique. We also helped with utilities.”

As executive director, Rowan wants to emphasize teaching people the skills they need to be self-sufficient.

“A lot of what we do here is Band-Aid surgery,” he said. “I want to teach people to fish, not just give them fish. It will be more helpful to the community in the long run.”

One of Rowan's future goals is to institute the “Circles” program, a program that helps people develop life skills by preparing them for the job market, primarily by partnering program members with someone in the middle class. This program was developed in Iowa in 1995.

Rowan wants to expand the hours of operation for Connellsville Area Community Ministries. The ministry will be open the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Connellsville Area Community Ministries is continuing its 2013 Sharing the Harvest Campaign. The goal of this program is to raise $100,000. The ministry has raised $60,000 so far.

“Most of us have a bountiful harvest,” Rowan said. “We can share from that harvest.”

Much of these funds will go toward building improvements. The Crisis Ministry will receive $35,000. The other ministries will receive $5,000 each.

For more information about Connellsville Area Community Ministries, call the office at 724-626-1120, or go to www.connellsvilleareacommunityministries.org.

Barbara Starn is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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