I’m excited to share news from the past three months – it has been a whirlwind at Community Warehouse!
In March, we hired our new Executive Director, Dunetchka Otero-Serrano. A Puerto Rico native, Dunetchka brings sixteen years of experience in the non-profit sector, a master’s degree in public administration, and remarkable leadership skills. Dunetchka welcomed donors and friends at Community Warehouse’s ninth annual CHAIR AFFAIR fundraiser in April to celebrate the beginning of an exciting new chapter.
“I am thrilled to begin my journey as Community Warehouse Executive Director and I assume this responsibility with a deep appreciation for the impact the organization has made in our community over the past fourteen years. I am confident, together, we will continue to strengthen and expand our important role to eliminate roadblocks to self-sufficiency and happiness for so many members of our community,” said Ms. Otero-Serrano.
Several weeks after the CHAIR AFFAIR event, both Warehouses are full to the brim with furniture and other household goods.
While walking through the Warehouse this week, I passed a client next to a large stack of furniture she had picked out, and noticed that she was crying. Concerned, I asked her if something was wrong. She responded through tears: “I’m just so happy.”
There’s something incredibly empowering about the transition into a home with a bed, dresser, table and chairs, and kitchen items that you have picked out yourself. It’s easy to take these basic things for granted. At the Warehouse, we are constantly reminded of the importance of basic furnishings helping people restart their lives.
As Case Manager Colleen affirmed: “Having basic furnishings is such an amazingly empowering part of someone’s move off the street and into housing. It comes down to dignity…and moving into a place that has white walls and barren floors is not an especially dignifying or human experience.”
Thank you for helping us provide dignity, stability, and hope for families and individuals in our community.
We look forward to an exciting summer!
Anna Kurnizki, Development Manager
Your gifts of funds, furniture, and friendship helped Community Warehouse create safe and stable homes for 7,234 neighbors in need last year.
Here is a small glimpse of the positive stories you create every day:
Angelica, her mother and daughter visited the Warehouse last month in need of basic goods for their nearly empty home. They arrived on a chilly, sunny morning and were handed their request form with a warm smile and a friendly 'Hello' from staff member Erik. The Warehouse was full to the brim as they walked around, picking out their favorite sofa, dining table, chairs, dresser, lamps and artwork (all donations from fellow community members.) The smiles on their faces were unforgettable.
Our volunteers packed a sizeable box of pots and pans, dishes, and other kitchen items along with a large, warm bag of linens. When it came time to select their beds, they asked kindly if we had any bunk beds. Tom, our Program Manager, sadly shook his head: "We rarely get bunk beds...I'm sorry." Angelica and her family were moving into a very small space, so a bunk bed was ideal, but they were very grateful and understanding. Fast forward fifteen minutes.
As Tom was loading the last of their goods into the truck, a donor pulled up to the garage entrance with a large vehicle and called out, "Hey – do you take bunk beds? I've got a real nice one here in my truck!" A huge smile of astonishment spread across Angelica's face. She spoke with the donor while we moved the bunk bed straight from his truck to hers. And that, friends, is the magic of the Warehouse. Your extras can make a huge difference in someone else's life. This happens all year round and your kindness makes it all possible. We truly can't thank you enough.
With sincere appreciation,
Anna and the Warehouse Crew
PS: We need your help! We are low on kitchenware, pillows, dressers, and beds at our Portland and Tualatin Warehouses. Please consider making a gift – all donations are tax-deductible and go directly to support local families in need.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
So far this year, your donations have provided the comforts of home for 6,450 people. Out of these, 2,995 were children. We encourage you to pause, shut your eyes for a moment, and actually picture all of these people and children who are no longer sleeping on the floor. Think about the hundreds (and thousands!) of families who can now sit down for a meal together, or a mom or dad who can hold a warm coffee mug in their hands as they read the morning paper in their comfy chair.
In the words of Case Manager Colleen Sinsky, “Having basic furnishings is such an amazingly empowering part of someone’s move off the street and into housing. It comes down to dignity…and moving into a place that has white walls and barren floors is not an especially dignifying or human experience.”
This is especially true this time of year. There is something wonderful about the holiday season that makes sitting down for a warm meal or snuggling on the couch with your kids extra special. We do our best each day to make this a reality for those in our community who are starting from the beginning.
This past week alone at the Portland Warehouse, we served 51 families. One family (pictured) stood out in particular at the Warehouse this week, representing three generations. From the grandmother to the youngest child, each will have a cozy bed to sleep on, as well as other essentials: a table and chairs, dresser, pots and pans, dishes and silverware, towels, an alarm clock, and more. With your help, we can keep our shelves full and the hopes of families fulfilled.
There are many ways to support Community Warehouse (and your neighbors in need) this holiday season:
Thank you for all you do to help us put USED GOODS TO GOOD USE every day. We wish you a very wonderful holiday season and hope to see you soon!
Kristy Wood, Executive Director
With summer winding down, we are excited to report that this has been one of the busiest and most successful summers ever for Community Warehouse. We have served 1,303 children since April, and our Warehouses have been consistently full of mattresses, sofas, linens, tables, chairs, and kitchen items.
Also, we are thrilled to share with you a recent story about the comforts of home. Although our #1 requested item is a twin mattress for a child, our beds aren’t only for kids…
Colleen Sinsky, Retention Worker at JOIN: connecting the street to a home and a longtime friend of the Warehouse, shared this wonderful story:
"I was so happy to deliver a load of furniture and household goods from Community Warehouse to Henry- one of the formerly homeless people whom JOIN worked with to find housing. 'I made it!' were Henry's words when we finally brought the last chair in from the truck. Henry and I were ecstatic when he was approved for this apartment last week, but blank walls and empty bedrooms don't make for much of a home.
With Community Warehouse we were able to furnish a new chapter in Henry's life and give him the dignity of having a bed to sleep in. Huge thanks to Community Warehouse and your supporters for empowering people like Henry.”
We encourage you to check out this video of staff, volunteers, and case managers about what HOME means to them: http://youtu.be/Hnkw_2UcL4g.
Also, we’d like to give you this opportunity to share what HOME means to you! Please send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to post on our Facebook page.
Thank you again for your generosity. With your support, we can continue to create safe and stable homes for our neighbors in need. We hope to see you at the Warehouse soon!
Kristy and the Warehouse Crew
Summer is off to a great start at Community Warehouse. May 26-30 was our best week in 2 years. Thanks to the donations and support from this incredible community, our Portland Warehouse served 52 families in 5 days. As the only furniture bank in the region, we are proud to support local social service agencies, case managers, donors promoting sustainable reuse, and our neighbors in need.
At Community Warehouse, our number one requested item is a bed for a child. Having a bed to sleep on is a basic and critical need. Lacking or sharing beds can negatively affect the entire household. Especially for our clients, who are often struggling to find employment, health care, food, and other basic needs, sleep deprivation can be devastating.
“The results of sleep deprivation may be cumulative, and detrimental to the family as a whole when a yawning parent struggles to meet the challenges inherent in another busy day. And adequate sleep is essential for your child’s physical and mental development as well, reports the National Sleep Foundation.”
Check out the full article on Global Post about the importance of sleeping in one’s own bed.
With your support, we can continue to redistribute over 1,000 twin mattresses to low-income children each year.
We hope you will consider giving a gift today to keep Community Warehouse’s program strong. Just $40 allows us to redistribute a mattress, box-spring, pillow, linens, and blankets to a child in need.
Hope your summer is off to a great start. We'll see you at the Warehouse!
PS: We are thrilled to report that our 1st annual “Cheers to Home” event is coming up on August 23rd at the Tualatin Warehouse! Stay tuned to our website (www.communitywarehouse.org) for updates and announcements about this exciting summer event.
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