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Trading Post helps families in the Southern Tier

COMMUNITY SERVICE — Jeff, Karen and 8-year-old Julianna Speers are pictured at the Trading Post, having their weekly “lunch date” at the local community kitchen. Photo submitted by Linette Crelly.
Many people who just drive by our outreach center on Franklin Street in Springville really don’t know what we do.

We are an outreach of Fellowship Hill Ministries that helps with everyday needs of families. Our clothing, though it can be sold, is predominately traded, through our trading swap program. A mom can gather up her old clothes and baby items and, in exchange, we give out trading bucks that she can use to “purchase” other clothes. This is our outreach model that we plan to bring across the country.

We have the Southern Tier food pantry and community soup kitchen that provides five hot meals, per month.

We are totally nonprofit. With only one paid staff person, we are 95 percent volunteer-powered. We hugely depend on volunteers, who do the many jobs that need to be done. We need you now, more than ever, to help keep our doors open.

Here is one family among the over 20,000 needs we help to meet each year.

The Speers family: “We never though anything like this would happen to us,” states mom Karen. One day, you have a good job that provides well for your family and the next day you find yourself in a hospital bed, facing months of rehab so you can walk again.

After shattering both heels and breaking an ankle in a roofing accident, Jeff (father and sole provider) was airlifted twice and transported by ambulance to five different medical facilities. Multiple surgeries, complications and vehicle breakdowns quickly melted through the savings of the Speers family.

Karen states, “We get to go ‘out to lunch’ and then shop for produce and other foods made available by the Second Harvest Program. This is huge for our family.”

The family, surviving on a disability check and food stamps, is able to stretch their food dollars by planning menus from what foods they receive.

Fourth grader Juliana would never have gotten a new backpack this year, if not for our Giving Tree Backpack Program. “We cried when we opened the backpack, to see a brand new pair of sneakers. Her old ones were held together with duct tape,” stated mom.

Other services that are helping the family include our clothing exchange program and haircuts. The Second Harvest is a program is where volunteers pick up perishable food donations from Wal-Mart and Tops and are then made available free to people in the community.

Because of your donations and service, over 1,100 families per month receive foods like apples, oranges, bananas, salad greens and more.

Our outreach center will be hosting a harvest festival fundraiser Oct. 26 – 27 at the Colden Fire Hall, Route 240, in Colden.

It is also Make a Difference Day, on Oct. 27. We will be also hosting a coat drive at the event.

Harvest festival: Friday, 5 – 9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 100-plus basket auction, farmer’s market, craft show, trade vendors, food tastings. Soup, chili and bake sales. Volunteers and basket/gift donations needed.

Linette Crelly
Trading Post CEO and outreach chaplain

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