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Sharing the Harvest to help Connellsville programs for needy

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, November 26, 2014 7:13 p.m
DCconnministryfood112714
Daily Courier
Graft Oil Company and Honey Bear stations recently donated $3,000 to the Connellsville Area Community Ministries second annual Sharing the Harvest Campaign. With $15,400 raised so far, the ministries has a goal of $100,000 to help with its programs for 2015. From left are Bill Swan, ambassador of the campaign; Ned Franks, president of Graft Oil and Honey Bear stations; and Chip Rowan, CACM executive director. The ministries' food pantry is expected to have a record number of families served in the month of November.

Connellsville Area Community Ministries is in the middle of its campaign to finance its ministries during what is the busiest time in its history.

The second Sharing the Harvest Campaign started in October with a goal to raise $100,000. The money will help fund the ministries’ budget for 2015, which in turn is used to help the area’s needy.

“Last year, we raised $102,000,” said Chip Rowan, CACM executive director, who said this year’s budget was $260,000, so that money made up almost half of their expenses.

Last year’s donations helped the ministry this year serve over 500 families each month, start the Circles program and provided crisis assistance to more than 150 families in the first nine months of 2014.

Next year, Rowan said the budget will finance such things as Circles, crisis assistance, the People Under Mission to People (PUMP), ministry building maintenance, Trinity House maintenance and the food pantry.

Currently, Rowan said they have received $15,400 of their $100,000 goal with a recent donation of $3,000 from Graft Oil Co. and Honey Bear stores.

Rowan said that last year, the smallest donation they received was $3 and the largest was $20,000, but all donations were appreciative.

“It takes it all to add it up,” Rowan said. “This time of year is when people really want to give.”

The timing couldn’t be any better, either. Rowan said they’re expecting their food pantry to serve 600 families in November, an all-time record that will beat out last year’s record of 550 families.

The average is approximately 350 families per month.

Rowan said there are many factors why the numbers of families they help rise around the holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving.

Because of that holiday and Christmas, more people are gathered together, which means more food is needed for those gathering, he said. Also, people are indoors more during the colder months and if they have a garden, they’re certainly not gardening in November and December.

Rowan said the in-demand items people are looking for include easy-to-make meals like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, canned meats and instant packaged meals.

He added that anyone who would like to donate has many ways. Donations of food, clothing and other items can be physically dropped off or checks made payable to CACM can be mailed to Connellsville Area Community Ministries, 110 W. Crawford Ave., Connellsville, Pa., 15425.

Monthly pledges are also an important function in raising money and can be done by calling the ministries at 724-626-1120, he said.

Another way to donate is online at its website www.connmin.org and click on the donate tab.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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