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Church donates parsonage to benefit the homeless

Volunteers sought to man two locations

LEWISTOWN — For Parkview Church of the Brethren, the phrase “second chance” has more than one meaning.

It recently breathed new life into its parsonage by donating it rent free to Shelter Services Inc.

As of around Thanksgiving, the building is a thrift store with proceeds benefitting the homeless — with a goal of helping them get back on their feet again.

And surely its no coincidence that the store, located at 990 Parcheytown Road, is also named “Second Chances.”

This is the second thrift store in Lewistown which donates proceeds to Shelter Services. The other one is located at 19 Depot St.

Parkview COB Pastor Teresa Fink, who also serves on the board of directors for the Shelter, said things seemed to fall into place when the church was looking for something to do with the building and the shelter found itself in need of more funding due to a $116,000 reduction in state funds over the last four years.

“We have been very blessed,” said Jane Neff, director of Shelter Services. “We are grateful for people like the congregation at the Parcheytown church that want to support us and recognize the need. There are lots of different ways to help out and they found a very creative way of doing that.”

The Second Chances Thrift Store operates completely on a volunteer basis and is seeking individuals looking to share their time and talents.

While the store is in operation 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday most weeks, they are still at the mercy of available volunteers, who are dwindling due to COVID-19.

“Historically a lot of our volunteers have been older individuals that are in the immunocompromised age group,” said Neff. “Many of them have withdrawn for a period of time and we have had to reduce hours because we did not have enough volunteers.”

Fink also said there have been less shoppers due to the pandemic.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” said Fink. “But God is faithful, and we are faith based and we believe he provides what is needed. We believe he cares about the homeless. He says that in his word. We are just trying to be faithful to the task of what he’s called us to do.”

Neff said the store needs assistance in sorting and organizing donations as well as manning the cash register when the shop is open.

Volunteers should be at least 18 or have a parent or guardian present.

Both stores are accepting donations of gently used, clean clothes, housewares, linens and unupholstered furniture. They do not accept old television sets and computers.

Shelter Services, located at 13 Depot Street, Lewistown offers 24/7 assistance to people facing homelessness progress from crisis to self-sufficiency.

For information about how to volunteer, contact Neff at (717) 248-0102 or pick up an application at one of the stores.

The Depot Street store is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Store hours may change based on volunteer availability. For more information, see the Shelter Thrift Shop Facebook page.

Both stores are requiring masks and are following safety precautions put in place by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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