Today WHH volunteered with our longtime partner agency, The Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities. Our small but mighty group tackled a massive donations room, divvying up items between the clothing bank, food bank and furniture/household bank.
At the food bank alone, SCHC sees 300 individuals per week, representing families ranging in size from 1 to 11 people. These folks use SCHC’s ‘market’ environment, where they can choose what products are right for their families. This type of ‘grocery store’ set up is gaining in popularity across the social service sector, as it reduces waste by not giving people things that they can’t/won’t use and it increases the sense of dignity and agency clients glean from the ‘shopping’ experience.
Clients can also access a hot meal once per week, shop at the clothing bank once per month, access a household/furniture bank and a number of other services such as case management, medical support, tax clinics etc.
In addition to volunteering, we also got a tour of the facilities and learned some interesting things:
- The item most needed by the food bank is canned protein. Think tuna, salmon or peanut butter.
- If a large items is donated, like a bag of rice for example, staff portion it out to distribute it as evenly as possible.
- A large jar of peanut butter isn’t a great donation – imagine portioning that out? Multiple smaller jars make a better donation.
- It takes a lot of work to sort clothing. If you can, when donating bag and label your clothing into “ladies clothing”, “outwear”, “footwear” etc. This saves the clothing bank valuable work hours.
- Speaking of footwear, the clothing bank gets LOTS of old, broken down shoes donated. These are better for the trash, but new shoes are a high need!
- Although bed-frames can be donated, mattresses must be new. Anyone with a link at a mattress retailer or manufacturer?
- People give a LOT OF JUNK to the clothing and furniture banks. From old unlabeled VHS tapes to six large boxes of hanging folders, people treat donation boxes like dumping grounds. It was a little frustrating to say the least.
- The folks at SCHC are some of the hardest working people around. They welcomed us on a Saturday with open arms, so happy for the help and volunteer hours we were willing to provide. Thank you for having us!
Thank you SO much to all the volunteers who came out today to help WHH and SCHC. You willingly spent a Saturday morning serving your community. We are very grateful.
If you’re interested in spending some time volunteering in the community, please reach out and join the WHH community!