Church collects cleaning supplies for new tenants

By EDDIE TRIZZINO, Times West Virginian undefined

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — Providing housing for the homeless has been more challenging amid the coronavirus pandemic, but organizations such as Friendship Fairmont have been accomplishing that mission.

The challenge then is making the homes livable, and providing new tenants with the cleaning supplies they need to survive in a pandemic. Rochelle Satterfield, program manager of Friendship Fairmont, said necessities such as food and shelter are often available through local nonprofits, but cleaning supplies are not covered by programs like SNAP, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“Whenever you move into a home, you want to make it your own,” Satterfield said. “When you can’t afford toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent and soap, it is hard to quarantine and keep yourself safe. So we definitely see this as a good opportunity to bring the community together to help those in need.”

After learning about the need, members of Fairmont First Presbyterian Church began collecting cleaning supplies this month. Church officials donated a truckload of supplies to Friendship Fairmont. Pastor Evan Walker said the church will also donate almost $1,300 in cash because the organization has now became a mission for the church’s Hospitality Team.

“We were looking for a good place to raise funds, to raise support for the Friendship room,” Walker said. “There’s so many needs and you can’t do everything, especially everything at once, but we really decided in our hearts that this is the one we want to do.”

Satterfield said the extra money can be used to provide clients of Friendship Fairmont with supplies that are not covered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or other assistance programs.

“It’s very hard to live on just minimum wage, let alone once you get the grocery bill,” Satterfield said. “Utilities aren’t always covered with the HUD assistance. When it comes down to your phone bills, if you’re not good at budgeting, those things get put to the side.”

First Presbyterian held its first “Souper Bowl” Sunday event last weekend where members cooked soups that were then sold to raise funds for the cleaning supplies project. Walker said the event was well attended and was a good opportunity to get together as a congregation.

“We had an amazing turnout for that, for how many people brought soup,” Walker said. “It was kind of a good time to, one, fellowship together as a church, but also to find a way to help and support outside our walls.

“We’re still trying to find ways to be hospitable and share God’s love in a way that is safe but not breaking social distancing rules.”

Satterfield said donations like this demonstrate that many people want to help clients of Friendship Fairmont who are in need, and she appreciates any donations to the organization. She also said Friendship Fairmont needs and accepts donations any time because people there always need supplies.

“We rarely get monetary donations that large,” Satterfield said. “It warms my heart that the community sees a need that we feel the community needs as well.”