Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 20, 2013

Cochranton effort helps those struggling financially

COCHRANTON — Being able to pick out some clothing, getting a food box and other items at Christmas truly is a blessing, according to Ed and Ruby Pelley of Cochranton.

The couple are trying to raise their 14-year-old grandson, William, and there is little money to spare for the two handicapped retirees. They’re raising William because they’re in a better financial position than their daughter.

“A lot of people in today’s economy are really hurting,” Ed Pelley said of Cochranton’s annual community giving program held Friday night at Cochranton United Methodist Church. “This really helps people out.”

A collaboration by the Cochranton-area service unit of The Salvation Army, Cochranton Caring Committee and the Cochranton Ministerial Association, the free program helps those struggling financially.

Families get a chance to pick out clothing and a quilt for free, toys for children, and get a food box, paper goods and a turkey.

“This really helps round out our Christmas,” said Ruby Pelley, who must use a walker to get around.

The Pelleys’ grandson, William, appreciates the help, too.

“I like it because it helps people out,” said William, who was dressed in a suit and tie he received through the program. “I got three cool hats and a tie this year.”

The program will aid about 100 Cochranton area families this year, said Gladys Burnette, 84, who coordinates the annual effort.

“People are hurting — they are hungry and cold,” Burnette said of why she’s been involved in the program for decades.

Having a dynamo like Burnette to coordinate the effort is a real benefit for the community, according to the Rev. Greg Spencer, pastor of Cochranton United Methodist Church.

“She knows all the resources to use and whom to contact,” Spencer said of how Burnette motivates so many people. “She’s really a fountain of talent, knowledge and wisdom.”

Burnette’s work with the program helps to inspire others, according to Jennifer Eckart, who oversaw the new toy distribution room Friday night.

“Gladys helped me out in the past,” Eckart said. “The only way to give it back is to come out and help other people.”

The items that are donated and collected for the families mainly come through the Cochranton area ministerial association of seven churches.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

You can help

Financial donations to the Cochranton Caring Committee can be made to via check to the program through any of the seven Cochranton area churches.

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