Good Life

Helping Hands | CentrePeace eyes new building to continue decades of inmate rehabilitation

Next year will mark CentrePeace’s 20th year of serving people in need. For two decades, CentrePeace has been reaching out to individuals incarcerated throughout Pennsylvania’s correctional institutions. Our used furniture and household goods showroom has grown from a weekend card-table setup to an organized recycling effort salvaging in excess of 250 tons of usable goods from the area’s landfills.

As the retail side has grown, so have the programs that we provide, not only to inmates but also to residents in need throughout Centre County. Working closely with other local nonprofits, we have been able to provide local residents in need with furniture, appliances and household goods that they could not otherwise afford to purchase.

So where do we go from here? We are about to embark upon a plan of action with the Centre County Correctional Facility that will provide county inmates with the skills, direction and support necessary to dramatically increase their chances of permanently staying out of jail once released. The fiscal benefits are obvious, but in the process, we may also be saving lives, families and jobs.

We also are in the planning stages of constructing a new facility on the same footprint as our existing facility. For years, our building has been deteriorating. Potential repairs would approach, we are told, the cost of a new structure. Additionally, if you have been to CentrePeace recently, you most likely have tripped over someone or something in the aisle as you walked through the store. We are simply out of space.

That’s why you see us pulling furniture out of storage in the morning and reversing the effort at the end of the day.

So, how do we anticipate paying for this new facility? That question is not so easy to answer. CentrePeace is somewhat unique in the nonprofit world, as we are almost completely self-supporting (95 percent). In practical terms, that means that we get few financial gifts annually to support ongoing and/or new programs. If we are to build this new facility, that model must change. We can’t do this alone. We are looking in earnest for individuals and/or organizations who believe in what we do, who care about our mission and who believe that making an investment in CentrePeace’s future is also good for the Centre Region. If you would like to get involved in this building project in some way, please contact me at 353-9081. I would be happy to share with you our tentative drawings and plans to date.

Old facility or new, however, we will continue serving those in need to the best of our ability. Thanks for doing your part to get us through these first 20 years. It’s been an enormous blessing to those of us who consider ourselves lifetime members of CentrePeace’s family.

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