FISH of Montgomery County collecting linens, clothing

Winter brings its joys, but also some hard-to-manage things like the expense of heating your home or shoveling snow. For those with less financial stability, these things are often insurmountable problems that add to the burden of poverty.

FISH tries to reduce this burden by providing support in the form of food, clothing and bedding. The generous donations of the holidays are gone and we are faced with a growing number of people in need of help. The cost of heating in winter shakes every household. If you’re already financially strained, this can tip the scales.

Here are a few thoughts that might help you see how you can help.

Many of us are trying to downsize our homes and getting rid of rarely used items like mismatched but still good towels from the closets. Maybe you’re helping an elderly person move into a smaller apartment and they don’t need as many sheets as they used to. You may be asked to help clean the home of a deceased person. All of these activities offer you the opportunity to enrich the shelves of our linen bench at First Baptist Church. Submission time is Thursday morning.

Our clothing store had many donations over the holiday season as new dresses arrived under the Christmas tree and space was needed. However, there is a continuing need for certain things that disappear as soon as they arrive. Children’s clothing is always needed because it always grows out of what they wear. Donations seem to favor women, so smaller and smaller men’s sizes are needed. Coats for men go out the door as soon as they arrive. Please remember that you are also helping the environment by donating clothes. The water and energy costs of making a garment are significant for all of us. Helping the poor with clothes helps our planet.

Of course, food is the most difficult need we face. Customers are allowed to visit us twice a month, but the number of households has increased and that means our food consumption has increased. We continue to seek resources for Shelf Life Foods and Meat, but we are unable to meet demand at this time. The garden days are just around the corner, but in winter there are almost no fresh produce.

Please remember how to support groceries as you shop. Buying two items can often have little impact on you and become a great resource for someone else.

Many of our churches plan special trips for Lent. Instead of giving up chocolate, give food to someone else. We’ve added a request on Facebook for your Super Bowl purchase to include soup and crackers for the table. With a little thoughtful preparation, you can make a difference. Grocery bank hours are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3pm to 5pm and Wednesday from 9am to 11am. Donations can be accepted at these times. If you have a large collection from your church or office, please call our number (765-362-3474) to make arrangements.

Remember, if you are unable to make all of these decisions, financial help through a check sent to our PO Box #261 Crawfordsville can make a difference.

Linda Cherry is President of FISH in Montgomery County.

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