Washington Christian Outreach has been spreading the gospel by helping to fulfill the material and spiritual needs of the less fortunate for more than four decades (Herald-Standard photo).
By Paul Paterra
WASHINGTON, Pa. — For more than four decades, Washington Christian Outreach has been spreading the gospel and fulfilling the material and spiritual needs of the less fortunate in the community.
Currently, those services include a soup kitchen and an on-site store that allows those who qualify to shop for free.
Debbie Boardley, assistant director, said the outreach center at 119 Highland Ave. in Washington is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“Anybody can come in and get a hot meal,” she said. “We have a store, and we get donations from anybody that can bring in bags or boxes of clothing, household and personal items. Everything is free. We not only feed them physically, but we also feed them spiritually. ”
Along with a hot meal, doughnuts, pastries, bagels, coffee and juice also are available.
As for the store, certain welfare income guidelines must be met to qualify to shop. The store, which also has some kitchen appliances and smaller furniture items at times, is open to Washington County residents, but Boardley said others will not be turned away.
Washington Christian Outreach was started 44 years ago by Jeanne Allender of Washington, who remains the director. In the beginning, Allender ran the operation out of the trunk of her car, then her home, followed by a couple of other places before moving to its current location.
Other programs the outreach provides and sponsors includes filled Easter baskets, Blessings in a Back Pack, back-to-school bags filled with supplies, Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas Toy Give Out. There also will be 300 food boxes distributed to families this year filled with items for a holiday meal plus a $25 meat voucher.
Washington Christian Outreach functions with an all-volunteer staff and on monetary and material donations. It sponsors two outreaches a year – a purse auction and 5K classic race.
Boardley said needs at the outreach include clothing for men and children, and outdoor apparel for everyone, such as gloves, scarves and hats. Monetary donations always are welcome as are volunteers.
Paul Paterra is a reporter for the Herald-Standard of Uniontown, Pa. Helping the Helpers is a joint effort of the Herald-Standard and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Readers may email him at [email protected].
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