New Kensington’s Helping Families needs help of its own
A New Kensington nonprofit that aims to help families furnish their home needs a new home of its own.
“We lose the building” on Feb. 21, said Leslie McLaughlin, founder and director of Helping Families, One Family at a Time.
She started the group about four years ago and it operates as a nonprofit under the umbrella of the Parnassus Preservation Partnership. The group also distributes gifts to needy children at Christmas.
It collects donations of anything from clothing to children’s toys and furniture to help families in crisis create some degree of normalcy for their children, McLaughlin said.
She had used the building she owns at 878 5th Ave. to store and distribute the items. McLaughlin sold the building because it needs a new roof and she couldn’t afford to make the repairs.
Now, Helping Families is in search of a new home it can afford, and fast. The items in the building need to be relocated next week and McLaughlin said she’s rented a storage unit for now.
What she’s looking for is the same kind of kindness and compassion that Helping Families extends to the people it assists: a space that can be had for little to no rent that can be used as a drop off point for donations.
“Pretty much without a donation hub, we can’t do as we do,” McLaughlin said.
The group exists with a minimal budget — it once received a $10,000 donation from a benefactor that helped, but otherwise, it’s “pretty much people helping people,” she said.
Helping Families caters to help children, especially ones whose families are in crisis. They’ve been evicted from homes and lack basic furnishings and clothing that Helping Families can provide them with, McLaughlin said.
Paying for those items is an expense these families can’t afford and the group has assisted many families in New Kensington since it started, she said.
McLaughlin’s gone as far as being the support person while a mother was in labor because the father of the baby was in jail, she said.
A Murrysville resident, McLaughlin lived in New Kensington decades ago and she said she fell in love with the town.
“It has so much potential,” she said.
Now, she’s looking for some of the people behind that potential to assist Helping Families. A landlord housing a nonprofit could gain tax benefits by doing so, she said, or if there is financial support, the group could pay rent.
“One floor is all I would need,” McLaughlin said.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-487-7208, [email protected] or via Twitter @TribDavidson.