Connellsville Area Community Ministries helps those who need support | Helping the Helpers

In this February file photo, Clara Brougher, who’s been volunteering at Connellsville Area Community Ministries for about eight years, works at its thrift store (Uniontown Herald-Standard photo)

By Mark Hofmann

CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. — Connellsville Area Community Ministries’ says its mission is to be an extension of the church to all hurting people needing support in life’s development, and the struggle to obtain justice and a healthful life.

(Capital-Star file)

Rob Reamer, CACM’s executive director, said the pandemic has increased the need for that support — especially through the agency’s food bank. One of the bigger food banks in Fayette County, CACM’s serves between 250 and 350 families monthly, Reamer said.

While the pandemic didn’t shut down Connellsville Area Community Ministries, it did shut down one of their other services in early spring: a thrift store where heavily-discounted items are for sale. In addition to offering quality, affordable items to those in need, the proceeds from the store help to keep the organization going, and pay for overhead costs.

  • IF YOU WANT TO HELP: Reamer said the Connellsville Area Community Ministries is always looking for food donations and will accept monetary donations, which can be sent to P.O. Box 777, Connellsville, Pa., 15425. Reamer said they’re also looking for any additional volunteers who may have an hour or two to spare. Contact the ministries at 724-626-1120 or visit their website at www.connmin.org for more information.

COVID-19 restrictions have also made the ministries’ services tricky with having clients and volunteers to social distance and wear masks.

The annual Heart to Hope Telethon benefits the services provided by Connellsville Area Community Ministries (Uniontown Herald-Standard photo)

Because of the ministries’ location, Reamer said they couldn’t offer a drive-up service without having to shut down streets in Connellsville, but they were able to continue on with their mission.

“The pandemic did hit us hard, but the community came together to help us out a lot,” Reamer said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Along with the support of those businesses and individuals in the community, Reamer said the ministries’ volunteers still continue to be the heart and soul of the operation.

Other services is their Crisis Ministry, which helps people with paying utility bills, shut-off notices and eviction notices as well as in-kind donations for people who need items after going through anything from a domestic-violence situation to a natural disaster; the ministries also helps out with Summer lunch programs with the local schools and they run a Treasurers for Children program that helps give children gifts for Christmas where volunteer sponsor purchase toys and is distributed by the ministries.

Mark Hofmann is a reporter for the Uniontown Herald-Standard, a publishing partner of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story is being simultaneously published. Readers may email him at [email protected]