‘Helping people in need’: Wishing-well program supports Interfaith Human Services

Wishing wells set up at Meyer Dairy and The Corner Room will help wishes come true for hundreds of individuals locally.

On Wednesday, Interfaith Human Services volunteers Betty Malafarina and Mary Beth Regan rang bells and mingled with passers-by at the corner of West College Avenue and South Allen Street, raising money for the organization’s annual Wishing Well initiative.

People tossed their spare change and loose dollars into a wooden bucket held by rope over a makeshift well.

The effort supports Interfaith Human Services — a faith-based organization located at 2100 E. College Ave. that aims to address social and economic needs of low-income residents of Centre County.

Between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, volunteers are set up, ringing a bell. About $40 is raised per hour, said Ruth Donahue, executive director.

Bert Coleman dropped 41 cents into the bucket on Wednesday afternoon as he was walking downtown.

“I just came from lunch and had some spare change that was clinking in my pocket, so why not drop it in for someone who needs it?” he said.

“If I can, I try to drop in a dime or two when I walk by. I don’t really think twice about it.”

The goal this year is to raise about $20,000, Donahue said. Wishing Wells collected $17,150 during the holidays in 2012 on the strength of 600 volunteer hours, she said.

“Meyer Dairy and The Corner Room have been so generous,” Donahue said. “It’s a nice collaboration and community effort, and it all goes back into the community.”

The campaign started on Black Friday and ends Dec. 22.

This is a decade-long tradition for Interfaith. Donahue said volunteers would work on the Red Kettle Campaign for the Salvation Army and then branched out with their own initiative.

On Sundays, a wishing well volunteer is also set up at Wal-Mart on Benner Pike.

“It’s a wonderful experience giving back to the community and knowing you’re helping people in need,” said Esther Lauchle, volunteer and campaign coordinator.

Interfaith is still looking for volunteers. Anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult when volunteering.

For more information or to volunteer, visit