Needs for the hungry remain high in Fayette County. How one group is helping | Helping the Helpers

‘They’re nose-to-the grindstone, real, true farmers and mountain people who appreciate what we do for them,’ an official said

By: - December 16, 2021 6:30 am

Christian Laymen volunteers pick up furniture donations, which are given to those in need or sold at a discount (Uniontown Herald-Standard photo)

By Alyssa Choiniere

CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. — Christian Laymen Corps has been feeding the hungry in the Connellsville mountains for about two decades, said CEO Curtis Hoffman.

(Capital-Star file)

“They’re nose-to-the grindstone, real, true farmers and mountain people who appreciate what we do for them,” Hoffman said.

The Greensburg-based organization started as a men’s group in 1990, and expanded as it connected with organizations in the region. Volunteers pick up used furniture donations from area residents and determine whether the item is “useable” or “sellable.” Useable items are donated for free to those in need. Sellable items are sold in the organization’s thrift shop, offering discounted furniture and while funding Christian Laymen.

“If it has value, we try to sell that, so we put that money back into our organization, and we will give items out for free to people in need,” he said.

Hoffman said Christian Laymen works with other local programs that distribute vouchers to those in need. The locals bring in the vouchers and collect what they need from the stockpile, which also includes clothing and household items.

Christian Laymen also provides children’s beds through A Bed for Every Child. Hoffmann said they started participating in the program in 2012 and receive grants to keep the program running.

  • IF YOU WANT TO HELP: Furniture donation pickups can be arranged by calling 724-834-4464, or donations can be dropped off at 258 E. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.christianlaymencorps.com.

The organization also received funding from a donor with a mission to serve veterans, Hoffman said. Through Soldier On: PAServes, veterans can receive a gold appreciation certificate worth $200 for anything in the store.

“Because of their service, we want to make sure they feel good about it,” Hoffman said.

Christian Laymen truck supervisor Jason Madden prepares for a weekly food drop off in the Connellsville mountains on 12/8/21 (Uniontown Herald-Standard photo)

They also provide emergency food, Hoffman said. This may include those who do not qualify for help through county programs, those who recently moved into the area, or those who need some extra help.

Hoffman said 50 people volunteer with the organization. He said the needs in Westmoreland County seemed to have decreased with COVID-19 relief funding, but he has seen a steady number of people needing food in Fayette County.

“It’s a different world we’re living in right now,” he said.

Hoffmann said it costs about $2,000 per year to run the Fayette County food program. Monetary donations and donations of food, clothing, furniture and other household items are always welcome, he said.

Alyssa Choiniere is a reporter for the Uniontown Herald-Standard. Readers may email her at [email protected]. Helping the Helpers is a cooperative effort between the Uniontown Herald-Standard and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

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