As Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I cant help but think of how many of our friends and neighbors through one of CentrePeaces outreach programs have made a difference in the lives of those incarcerated.
I am grateful for every person who has donated time, talent, resources and, of course, used furniture and household goods. To all of you, I say thanks. We are blessed to work and live in an area with so many generous residents.
You may not be aware that in terms of paid staff, CentrePeace is a very small organization. We staff the equivalent of just over five full-time positions. The overwhelming majority of our activities are tackled by a committed group of volunteers.
And while you may see some of these volunteers during your visits to CentrePeaces outlet showroom at the cash register, carrying furniture or shelving our latest arrivals, that picture only scratches the surface of the number of folks who have made it their own personal mission to support CentrePeaces goal and vision of reducing recidivism in Centre County and beyond.
Given our small staff, if one of us is out due to illness or some other reason, we have a handful of folks who will, on very short notice (Im talking 30 to 45 minutes), come to the rescue and fill in on that particular day.
I cant tell you how reassuring it is to know that we have folks waiting in the wings to help out like this. We have others who repair slightly damaged furniture that has been donated or repair our copier and computers at little or no charge to us. We have one committed volunteer who, for years, has supplied us with an ongoing supply of homemade iced tea. This particular fellow also provides us with freshly baked bread on occasion as just another treat.
Some of our volunteers take donated fabric home with them, launder, iron, measure, wrap, and return every piece that ends up on our showroom shelves, while others take items home to research so that we can more accurately price them. Others tend to be more project-focused.
As a United Way partner agency, we have been blessed to have a wonderful group of volunteers from Penn State who have, in the past three years, replaced the roof on our transition house and rebuilt and replaced the trusses on an otherwise failing roof in front of our facility. These truly are Days of Caring.
So, to all of you who touch CentrePeace in some way and ask for nothing in return, I again say thank you. You inspire us to forge ahead, striving to affect positive change in the lives of those in need.
Thomas L. Brewster is executive director of Centre Peace.