AUTHOR: Nicole Summers
All of us at the FaithCentre acknowledge that we are fortunate to be spared the horrors of war engulfing Ukraine and that, in comparison to the struggles hoist upon Eastern Europeans, our complaints of inflation and high gas prices seem minor. While recognizing that we are blessed to be safe in our homes, we also understand that inflation and the attendant costs of war are most keenly felt by those who can least afford the economic consequences of military action.
With gas marching towards $5.00/gallon, families with modest incomes are facing substantial challenges. Commuting to work now costs 57% more than it did three months ago; food prices rose by an average of 7% in 2021 only; and the price tags of home improvement materials have hit record highs. After two years of pandemic related stress, a fresh round of upheaval and angst has weakened many people’s emotional resilience and watching inflation outpace paychecks has resulted in new rounds of anxiety and tension. We have seen our friends tear up when talking about the cost of heating their houses and listened to comments on sleepless nights and frequent headaches.
We, therefore, wish to remind our neighbors that the FaithCentre was founded as a place of refuge and relief. For those struggling to feed their families, our Food Bank is open and staffed by kind and compassionate volunteers. We offer locally sourced milk and eggs, myriad protein sources, fresh vegetables, non-perishables, baked goods, and personal care items. Clients leave our Food Bank with well over one hundred dollars’ worth of groceries which can mean the difference between subsisting on low nutrient foods and crafting comforting meals. We also know that companion animals play an enormous role in enhancing their owners’ physical and mental health. To ensure that no one in our region must surrender a beloved pet because they cannot afford cat or dog food, we distribute free pet food at the FaithCentre Food Bank in Bellefonte and at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in State College. Those in need of clothing for school or work are welcome to visit our Thrift Store at 110. West High Street in Bellefonte on Tuesdays or Fridays to take advantage of our free clothing voucher program. Finally, if anyone is simply feeling lonely or adrift, our coffee corner is open and offers a welcoming spot in which to enjoy a free hot beverage and snack and friendly conversation.
Although the FaithCentre clearly cannot solve every problem encountered within our community nor can we control gas prices or curb inflation, we remain dedicated making our small corner of the world warm and bright and serving those most in need of our assistance and attention.