Jun. 11—Karen Snair carried two vacuum cleaners down a set of steps at the Alle Kiski Strong Chamber in Harrison on Friday.
The appliances were among hundreds of items for the Allegheny Valley Association of Churches in Harrison. She and four volunteers made 12 trips to load a Suburban and back of a truck.
"I am overwhelmed," said Snair, executive director of the Allegheny Valley Association of Churches. "These items will help so many people. We offer housing to people who are homeless. They don't always have the money to buy things they need. One of the most requested items is a sweeper."
In addition to the vacuums, donations collected included toilet paper, diapers, shampoo, deodorant, feminine care products, laundry detergent, mops, buckets and cleaning products. There were even a few school backpacks.
The items were collected over two months by volunteer group, Women of Alle Kiski Engaging, which delivered drop off boxes at area businesses to collect the donations.
WAKE is a division of the Alle Kiski Strong Chamber, whose mission is to empower women and promote women's leadership.
"We put a call out to help struggling families," said Cici Broxie, chairwoman of WAKE and an Alle Kiski Strong Chamber board member. "People want to help. They just need to know what they can do."
The WAKE women get things done, said Snair, who lives in Fawn. She said she appreciated everyone who made conscious effort to buy something and drop it off for someone else.
Broxie said she was shocked when she saw all of the donations—they filled the conference room at the chamber office.
"We are blessed to be able to do this for you," Broxie said to Snair. "We appreciate everything your organization does for the community."
The Allegheny Valley Association of Churches helps people with everything from food to furniture to dishes and other basic household items. It encompasses 54 churches from 13 denominations. It offered services to more than 19,000 people last year, including from its food bank.
Lynda Pozzuto, executive director for the chamber, said the community really responded and some people dropped off items at the chamber office.
Drop off areas included Allison Park, Butler, Cheswick, Ford City, Freeport, Kittanning, Lower Burrell, Leechburg, Mars, Natrona Heights, New Kensington, North Apollo, Pittsburgh, Sarver, Springdale, Saxonburg, Tarentum, Upper Burrell, Vandergrift and Worthington.
WAKE is hosting digital media specialist Ginger Howard for "Building Business & Relationships Through Social Media" on July 15 at Hill Crest Country Club in Lower Burrell.
WAKE is also planning another donation drive in July for veterans to be distributed for Veterans Day. Addiotnal details will be announced.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .