Community service center sees increase in patrons and donations and seeks to expand storage
The Fort Madison, Iowa, Adventist Community Service Center is looking to expand its storage after seeing an increase in both customers and item donations.
The center, which was closed for a while due to COVID-19, reopened in July 2020. According to center director Janie Warner, the center was so packed with donations that it was difficult to walk around. interior, which led the staff to move in. tables outside for those who need them.
As the center has reopened its building to the public, it is struggling to store all donations received, according to the centre’s deputy director Rich Barlow. “We are overwhelmed with the gifts we have,” Barlow said.
To compensate for the lack of storage, donations are currently stored in the centre’s office, a hangar located next to the center, a garage for volunteers and inside the center itself.
Part of the increase in donations occurred after the local Salvation Army closed. Warner said the center is fortunate to receive so many donations, especially after seeing a 30-40% increase in client numbers in the past ten months.
With the closure of the local Salvation Army, many volunteers believe the center is more important than ever.
“The center is very essential,” said Karole Smith, a volunteer. “I think we see a lot more people depending on [on the center since the Salvation Army closed]. “
Donations of items continued to rise, by around 20%, after the center was featured in a local newspaper, resulting in greater community outreach, according to Warner. To cope with the increase in donations and patrons, staff at the center looked at new storage options. After some research, the center staff decided to raise funds for an additional storage unit. The storage unit, which will measure 12 feet by 28 feet and include a loft, will cost around $ 8,000, according to Warner.
“The storage unit that we are considering purchasing will give us maximum space for the money,” Barlow said.
The center does not bill customers for items and relies solely on donations and support from the Fort Madison Church to operate. The decision not to charge clients is directly linked to the centre’s philosophy: “Help everyone”.
“Basically, Jesus never turned anyone away,” Warner said. “This is what we think we have to do. “
“The new storage unit will help us know exactly what we have and where we have it,” Barlow said. “This will make it easier for us to get the items to the people who need them. “
Wayland Lively, a center volunteer and pastor at Fort Madison Church, said the center hopes that in addition to providing people in need with clothing and other items, it will also meet the spiritual needs of the community. . “We want to connect with the community so that we can relate to the spiritual health of the community,” Lively said.
The center also provides all clients with free Adventist literature and frequently invites clients to religious and Bible studies.
“Sometimes I feel depressed because we don’t have anyone at church or at a Bible study,” said Warner, “but then I keep reminding myself, ‘We plant seeds, we plant seeds.’ “