The thrift store operated by Susquehanna County Interfaith at Montrose is currently closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, but the agency has actually kicked into overdrive to provide services and resources for those in need.
Photos and story by Rick Hiduk
(Also published in the Susquehanna County Independent)
Susquehanna County Interfaith continues to provide services to those in need despite the temporary closure of the thrift store and offices on Route 706 east of Montrose. Those stopping in from March 17 on were met with a closed sign and a notice posted on the door, that reads “At the recommendation of Governor Wolf, Susquehanna County Interfaith will be closed until further notice.”
Otherwise, Interfaith executive director Cindy Beeman explains, “We are still helping people and trying to make sure that people are able to stay in their homes, stay warm and have food to eat. The store is not open, but we are answering all calls and helping people with their bills or the resources that they need.”
Crisis assistance is at the core of Interfaith’s mission to provide help and hope to all residents of Susquehanna County. Beeman acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic will challenge the agency’s goal of helping families and individuals achieve long-term self-sufficiency. While utility companies and landlords may relax their late payment practices in the short term, preventing loss of service or eviction, the avalanche of bills will eventually come.
“Right now, many people are just trying to find a little reassurance that there is help when they need it,” says Beeman. “We are trying to work on how to help before people are so far behind that there is no way to catch up.”
Collaboration with other agencies and the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Center will hopefully prevent gaps in services, she notes. The list of is growing volunteersof people who are willing to pick up and deliver medications and food for those who cannot get out on their own, which Beeman finds encouraging.
Interfaith’s other key services, including provision of clothing, personal needs, and financial assistance, as well as household items for persons facing emergency situations are still just a phone call away, she maintains. In addition to spreading the word that Interfaith is available to help, Beeman offered some specif ways in which readers can assist the agency:
There is a pressing need for hand sanitizer for first responders. “Look around the house and find the sanitizer that was a give-away at the fair or a trade show or the little ones that people pick up at health and beauty supply stores,” Beeman suggests.
People who are able to provide physical assistance are encouraged to call her at 570-278-1776. Donations can be mailed to Susquehanna County Interfaith at 17120 State Route 706, Montrose, PA 18801. A new charitable endowment has been established at the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains to help ease difficulties that families may face during the coronavirus crisis. Interested readers can log on to www.community-foundation.org to learn more.
For more information on services offered by Susquehanna County Interfaith, readers can log on to www.interfaith.org or follow updates on the agency’s Facebook page.