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FaithCentre announces plans to open new location, celebrates 10 years

by on June 20, 2013 12:26 PM

BELLEFONTE — Nicole Summers, executive director of FaithCentre in Bellefonte, doesn’t think the need for food assistance will decline any time soon.

“I think it’s going to continue to increase,” she said.

To respond to growing demands, the nonprofit outreach center plans to open a new location for its food pantry later this year. To be located at 131 S. Allegheny St., the new location will occupy about 6,000 square feet, and will also house the pet food pantry for Centre County.

As a special commemoration of the new space, and in honor of its 10th anniversary this year, FaithCentre will host a celebration on June 22 at the South Allegheny Street location, which will feature a worship service and public open house, Summers said.

The service will begin at 2:30 p.m., followed by the open house portion of the event, which will feature tours and snacks, and will give the public an opportunity to see what the new food bank will look like, she said.

The new location, which FaithCentre purchased on June 3, is anticipated to open in October or November, Summers said. Until then, services will continue at the food pantry’s current location at 110 W. High St.

Last month, FaithCentre’s food bank fed 826 people in the greater Bellefonte region, Summers said.

“We just didn’t fit all of our different programs in this building anymore,” she said of the decision to expand. “(We) had to find space to accommodate growing storage need.”

When Summers joined the organization in 2007, the food bank served an average of 250 people a month, she said.

“The need for food assistance has exploded,” she said.

Now the food bank assists around 800 people a month. Many of these are people who work minimum wage jobs, Summers said.

“It is certainly supplemental and can make a huge difference in somebody’s budget,” she said.

Summers said she anticipates the number of people served by the food pantry to “bump up” to about 1,000 a month in the near future, partially due to more workforce housing units being built in Bellefonte.

To finance the new space, FaithCentre is in the process of raising funds, she said, through Centre Gives, private donations and other avenues.

Money raised will go towards a variety of renovation projects at the new location, such as installing a push button on the door, building a back entrance from the basement, electrical work and installing a fire proofing system.

Other fundraisers are expected to continue throughout the summer for these projects, she said.

“In ten years, the FaithCentre has grown from an idea shared by a handful of people to a cornerstone of the community,” Summers said.

Founded in 2003, FaithCentre is a Christian, faith-based umbrella of programs, services and facilities available to all persons. Its thrift shop opened in 2003 in downtown Bellefonte. Sales from the store supported a small emergency aid program – the FaithCentre’s first ministry, according to information provided by Summers.

In 2004, FaithCentre moved to its current facility. Since then, it has added the food pantry for the greater Bellefonte area, the pet food pantry for Centre County, a teaching kitchen, a free coffee corner, a Bible study and an expanded financial assistance program, the information states.

FaithCentre has nine paid staff, which are supported by volunteers from area churches, service groups and community organizations. Food drives are held by scout troops, local postal workers and school groups. Businesses contribute through donations of linens, display cases, fresh vegetables, bakery foods, and other items, the information states.

FaithCentre’s hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. To contact the director’s office call (814) 355-0880. To contact the food pantry, call (814) 355-4400. For more information, visit www.faithcentre.info.

IF YOU GO

What: Faith Centre Food Bank Open House

Where: New location, 131 S. Allegheny St., Bellefonte

When: 2:30 p.m., June 22

More information: www.faithcentre.info



Staff Writer at The Centre County Gazette
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