I think we’d all like more time to volunteer and give back to our communities. In some way, shape or form. Making time for it, consistently, takes motivation and organization.
Lives are busy and schedules get crazy but giving back is so incredibly rewarding I want to encourage everyone to make the time.
Maybe it’s donating physical items, clothing, furniture, etc… that could be useful to another.
Maybe it’s donating time at your children’s school or a local non-profit.
Maybe it’s donating your talents to a friend or local organization that needs help.
After my husband’s medical emergency last September, I was even more determined to give back, help others…because so many were rallying around me and my family.
And then I was introduced to The Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County…
When my husband suffered a medical emergency last September, my family experienced such an outpouring of love and support from our community. Friends, family, business acquaintances, neighbors and the like all wanted to do anything to help ease our struggle. They are a huge reason we were able to navigate that difficult time.
While this support was a tremendous comfort me, personally, it was also a wake-up call. I needed to GIVE BACK.
So I started using my talents and expertise as a Professional Organizer to assist non-profit organizations who could benefit from my services. Of course, it is quick and easy (and totally appreciated & acceptable) to give a monetary donation but getting down and dirty to make a difference gives you a real glimpse into world and the people you are helping .
I am a firm believer in the sentiment “everything happens for a reason.”
And in March 2019, something happened…
I was a breakout speaker at the WOMENomics event in Delaware County. It is presented by Delaware County Business and Professional Womenin partnership with Friends of the Delaware County Women’s Commission. Its mission is to bring business, government, and civic leaders together in an effort to promote the needs of women.
At the event, I was approached by a woman who works for the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County (DAP). The Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware Countyworks to prevent domestic violence and empower victims to move towards self-sufficiency through FREE legal, counseling, safe house, community outreach and crisis hotline services.DAP is a frequent beneficiary of charitable donations from Delaware County BPW each year. The woman knew I was just the person to help them get organized.
We talked then a couple of days passed and we met at the DAP office and…YES! They needed help organizing the overwhelming amount of donations that they receive from the local community.
Clients come to DAP for a variety of reasons – counseling, legal advice, among other resources. Sometimes they are escaping an abusive home and the last thing on their mind is packing toiletries, etc. Safety is the top priority.
Whether I’m working with a homeowner, business owner or a non-profit organization, my process is always the same…
- Review the space
- Listen to challenges
- Develop a strategy
After reviewing the space and listening to volunteers about their challenges, we determined that our goal for DAP volunteers was to organize the donation area effectively so volunteers can locate donations and get them into the hands of those that need them desperately.
DAP encourages their clients to help themselves to items they need such as body wash, shampoo/conditioner, razors, feminine products, baby formula, diapers, tooth brushes tooth paste and much more. The donation center needs to be well organized and easy to maintain to reduce stress for the visitors, staff, volunteers.
We determined materials that we needed, including:
- Clear bins
Clear bins with labels will help client easily identify supplies they need. Clear bins also allow the staff to see what items they need to refill. Once those bins are empty it’s time to request donations from the local community via social media. An overflow closet can hold excess supplies, donations.
Now that we have the vision – it’s time to get to work.
As luck would have it, a team from Allstate Insurance was coming in to do a few hours of community service. I brought them into the fold and got them started on decluttering and organizing…they did the rest.
As the saying goes…
”Many hands make light work.”
And before we knew it….SUCCESS!
The new donation area is organized and user-friendly for all who need to access it – clients, staff members, volunteers, etc…
First Project In the Books…Next Project Please!
After working with the staff at DAP I learned that they had just moved their safe house and needed similar help with their new donation area in that space.
The women & families come to the safe house for a short term stay – 30 days. Some clients come in the middle of the night and have nothing except for the clothes on their backs.
The donation room needs to store day to day necessities for guests. They receive a welcome bag, a handbag with essentials and all toiletries they need. If clients are in need of clothing, they have a voucher to shop at Nana’s Attic in Broomall.
The safe house was recently renovated but still needed designated areas to serve specific purposes. The donation room at the safe house would work the same way as the main office but for staff only.
No problem. While the safe house was larger and would take more time, the process remains the same…Review, Listen, Strategize, Execute. And in just about 9 days of work, along with the volunteers from Allstate Insurance, the safe house was organized from top to bottom, including the new donation area – the heart and soul of the safe house, providing so much to these women in need., not to mention their families.
There is nothing more rewarding than to give back to those truly in need. There is so much more we can do for the people and the organizations in our communities, in our region.
Making life easier for the dedicated staff and volunteers…no more searching for items or realizing they ran out of something and have to run to the store. One volunteer couldn’t wait to work in the new donation room. This was her dream for this space and never knew it could be like this. To have an organized space means the staff and volunteers can now spend more time with their clients.
Physical items and monetary donations are always appreciated but what else can we offer? Women and children’s issues are especially important to me so I look for opportunities to help out where I can – volunteering my time & talents. Find an organization that means something to you, your family or your community and get involved!
If you are interested in donating items, time or talent, Nana’s Attic Thrift Storeopened February 2002 as a source of earned income for DAP as well as a resource for resident women and children of DAP’s safe house. The donations that DAP collect are essential, basically life-saving, for those who are escaping an abusive situation. Every volunteer hour, sale, consignment and donation supports DAP’s services to victims of abuse.
If you are experiencing abuse and need resources, you can call The Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County’s 24/7 crisis hotline at 610-565-4590.