How Community Warehouse Stepped Up In The Pandemic
By Robin Healy - Development Coordinator
Community Warehouse responded to the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible by closing our regular operations on March 16. The nature of our service requires close contact with used goods and people (over 2,000 unique contacts per week!), so we made this decision to protect public health until we could create a plan for modified service.
Unfortunately, closing to the public meant losing our earned revenue (Estate Store sales and fees for service). Due to these closures and the postponing of our biggest fundraising event, we had to furlough 77% of our staff.
In less than a week, our remaining skeleton crew formulated a plan and were back up and running with modified client services. We began providing "Home 2 Go" kits consisting of a custom-made dresser packed with brand-new, sanitized items (an air mattress, pots and pans, dishware, linens, and more) and shrink-wrapped for safety and portability. (Link for more info: https://www.communitywarehouse.org/home-2-go/)
By April, we had provided 170 Home2Go kits to 319 neighbors in need referred by 30 partner organizations. By May, Community Warehouse was fully staffed again, and began collecting a limited list of donated items from the public to supplement the Home2Go program. Community Warehouse was asked to present our COVID-19 process and operations to the national Furniture Bank Network, due to the success of our services during this unprecedented time.
From a case manager at the VA: Thank you so much for doing this! My team was just talking today about what we were going to do for our vets that moved into new places right before you guys had to shut down. We rely on you guys so much! I am very glad you closed when you did (absolutely the right decision) AND, you have been missed.
These are difficult times for everyone. We know it's more important than ever to continue providing the comforts of home so families in need do not have to shelter in place in an empty space.
As Community Warehouse transitions to newly modified services, your support is even more critical. There is more need in our community as families struggle to make ends meet due to COVID-19.
There are a lot of unknowns. But at least we have a simple solution to furnishing the homes of folks in need.
Thanks to your support, Community Warehouse will continue doing just that, today and in the future.
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