Allegany County United Way
Wellsville, New York
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Catholic Charities

Volunteering helps with recovery

The mission of Catholic Charities Wellsville Food Pantry and Outreach is to empower individuals, children and families, and in turn help them to achieve and maintain meaningful, healthy and productive lives. With financial support from ACUW, Wellsville Catholic Charities’ Food Pantry and Outreach assists over 700 families per year who face food insecurity. Additionally it provides valuable volunteer opportunities that engage people with the local community and provide essential services to those experiencing difficulties.

The Wellsville Food Pantry and Outreach program works with the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Program (ACASA) from Trapping Brook House in Wellsville to recruit volunteers. The ACASA program is designed to help adult males recover from the disease of addiction. This year the Food Pantry has utilized 4 gentleman from the program who are turning their lives around and are working towards ambitious goals for their future. These gentlemen have provided their time and talents, and have made a great impact within the community.

One of these gentleman from Trapping Brook House had a strong desire to give back to the community which has been integral in helping him. Al* has been invaluable at the Catholic Charities Wellsville Food Pantry. He balances his time between requirements of the program, his personal life, and assisting each day the Food Pantry is open.

Al assists shopping clients through the “Shop-Through-Style” pantry, cleaning, stocking shelves, and unloading deliveries. Also he has been very helpful in setting up the new Thrift Store that will provide the community with low cost clothing options. Al is very engaging with those who come for food assistance and makes each client feel truly welcome. This is important because it is often very difficult for people to present themselves for help. Clients appreciate Al, and find great comfort from their interaction with him. Many times, this is even more valuable than the food assistance they receive.

Al is currently in the process of transitioning out of the supervised group home and moving into a supported living residence that will allow him to continue to volunteer at the food pantry and also allow him to enroll at Alfred State College in the fall of 2016. He plans on studying computer science.

While Al did not benefit directly from emergency food assistance from Wellsville Catholic Charities Food Pantry, the opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community was essential in his personal recovery and journey to becoming a contributing member of society again.

*Name changed to protect identity.