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Community members who donate are the ‘heart and soul’ of CentrePeace

CentrePeace has served incarcerated individuals and their families for over 25 years. Throughout those years, we’ve helped change for the better the lives of countless men, women and children throughout Centre County and beyond. From providing someone a ride home from the county jail to facilitating ongoing counseling sessions, our services have been and continue to be utilized by hundreds of residents of Centre County, as well as by individuals incarcerated at one of Pennsylvania’s 27 correctional institutions.

What may not be so obvious are the many individuals that CentrePeace reaches out to in our local community and touches through the operation of our used furniture and household goods outlet on Benner Pike. Aside from the kind and generous financial donations that we receive from a few individuals and churches each year, our store provides nearly 100% of the proceeds necessary to support our various prison outreach programs. Without the store and our loyal customer base, we simply could not exist. So, to those of you who so faithfully donate furniture and household goods to us on a regular basis, we thank you. You are our very heart and soul. You have no idea how incredibly important your donations are to our core mission.

And what may surprise the average customer of CentrePeace even more is that the person waiting in line to check out behind you or in front of you may be facing life challenges that most of us can’t even begin to imagine. While some may think of purchasing a used mattress an unthinkable act, others are simply grateful this same used mattress (all they can afford) will fit into the back of their vehicle which may have been serving as their home for the past several months. Or that same mattress may well be the very first mattress an adolescent child has ever slept on aside from the family couch.

Working with extraordinary organizations like Centre Safe, Catholic Charities, Saint Vincent de Paul and Housing Transitions, we are able to provide safe, affordable living spaces for many in our community who would otherwise be homeless or living on the very edge. There is no greater joy than to see a smile on the face of a child or a parent, when they discover that with our assistance and the assistance of others, they will be able to sleep in a regular bed, or eat at a regular kitchen table with decent dishes and silverware and the like ... things that many of us too often take for granted but are so meaningful to those who have gone without for so long.

Thanks for allowing us to help lift our neighbors up for so many years.

Thomas L. Brewster is the executive director of Centre Peace.