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December 03, 2016
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The season of giving all year round

Gloria Frechen, left, and her sister Phyllis Fredericks run the Community Service Center at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Honesdale, where they give clothes and other household goods to people in need.
TRR photos by Isabel Braverman

Currently there are around seven volunteers, including Frechen’s sister Phyllis. One volunteer is Barbara Donatelli. She became connected with the center in 2006 when she moved to the area full-time after having a country house here. She moved the furniture from her old house into the country home and wanted to give that furniture to people who needed it and would not have to buy it. She said, “I couldn’t find anyone, and then I found Gloria, who ran this center and connected with these people. I was so happy; I gave her everything that we had, and it felt good.” She told Frechen that after she was all settled in she wanted to come to work. Donatelli now says that Frechen has “become a family member” and that she “is an angel. She’s truly one of a kind, and I’m glad I got to meet her and work for her, she’s really special.”

Donatelli said that the center “doesn’t ask questions; it says come take what you need.” I asked Frehcen how people react when they come in. She said, “If they’re new, they come in and they say, ‘We’ve never been in here before, what do we do?’ I say, ‘Just go shop. Get whatever you want.’ If they ask me for a bag I say, ‘Do you want a big one? Fill it up.’”

Anything that is in bad condition goes to textile recycling, or as rags to Frechen’s mechanic. Although everything is free, people are welcome to give monetary donations, which helps with providing gas, food and rent to those who need it.

Frechen just celebrated her 85th birthday on Tuesday. She says she thanks God, and that “if He keeps me healthy, then I will keep helping people.” When asked why community service is important, she said, “Because I love people. And I love helping. It’s just such a good feeling.”