"To love and serve our neighbors as ourselves."

Original article by Ronald Fisher of The Tribune-Democrat


A local effort to collect clothing and personal care items for those in need is underway in the city of Johnstown. 

The initiative, which has been named “Help Warm Johnstown Up,” is a volunteer-led effort working to help the less fortunate in the area.

Donations made to the cause will be benefit the Martha & Mary House, located on Bedford Street, and The Salvation Army in downtown Johnstown.

Jesse Trentini, program director for the Martha & Mary House, said it is wonderful to see such an effort led by local residents.

“The Martha & Mary House is the only homeless shelter in Cambria County. Our occupancy permit is for 16 people and it’s an absolute maximum,” Trentini said.

“We hold the 15, really only, beds for the homeless population in Cambria County. So any time that we are able to work with other members of the community that want to reach out and be supportive to us and provide us with things we need, I think it’s incredible.

“Working in social services my entire professional career and now having the honor of taking over as the director here, it has made my transition into the position that much more rewarding,” he said, “and that much more positive, to see members of the community like this reach out and want to support the resources that they have.”

Clothing items being accepted for adults and children include: coats, gloves, sweatshirts, scarves, etc.

Examples of personal care items include: shaving cream, razors, shampoo, toothbrushes, lotion and deodorant.

“A lot of people that we get here at the shelter come in various levels of how much supplies and how many resources they have,” Trentini said.

“They may not have a winter coat or boots, which is important when they are relying on public transportation or walking to different places.”

Canned food, cleaning supplies and toys for small children are also being requested for donation.

“They’re all really important things,” Trentini said. “Especially for people who may be transitioning and looking to better themselves. Those things are really important to help build them back up and give them the resources they need to be successful no matter the time of the year.”

Donations and monetary offerings can be sent to the Martha & Mary House, 899 Bedford St., and/or to The Salvation Army, 576 Vine St.

Checks for the Martha & Mary House should be made payable to Catholic Charities of Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Checks should also include “Help Warm Johnstown Up” in the memo.