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Community Warehouse 040118

Mar 29, 2018|

AN INTERVIEW WITH MICH NELSON AND MEGAN SMITH WITH COMMUNITY WAREHOUSE ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO GETTING NEEDED BASIC HOME FURNISHINGS TO PEOPLE IN NEED.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is mattress go. And Entercom radio Portland public affairs program I'm Gary blocks them and now that spring is officially here maybe you're doing some spring cleaning and thinking what am I gonna do with all this stuff but I like to introduce YouTube community warehouse. On missiles go today I would like to welcome mr. Nelson the program director and Megan Smith the communications director of community where else what tournament was completely. Yeah well I think the very first question we should answer is what is community where else. Community warehouse is your local nonprofit furniture bank and our motto is putting used kids to good use. That means we collect and redistribute it gently used furnishings and household items to our neighbors in need in our community. And then people donate their used furniture to you that's straight. They accept donations and a furniture and gently used furniture. To pass on to a neighbors through partnerships that we have in our community with over 200 organizations. Well. Colin we've been doing this. Community warehouse started in 2001. So while you've been around for awhile how many people are Muirfield Perry helped in those years. Last year we surged to 7700. In 199 individuals. And both of our locations and we served. 2823. Families. The advent beginnings of what beach community warehouse. Actually started in the ninety's. With a group of people who are working with the Jewish family services through synagogues. To help reset all refugees from Eastern Europe. After the fall of communism and so it was a little more are you know ad hoc projects at that point. Just hoping to get refugees resettled in what they learned through that process is. That there are a lot of people that needed these services. And so therefore after the wave of refugees. Kinda slow down there were still lots of people in the community who needed these services and so that's when it was incorporated as a non profit in 2001. And continues to this day. Well that's pretty great in there's a lot of need out there and there's a lot of heat yet is it more or less than he used to be. Well I think it's more our definitely over the past couple years. We definitely had an eighteen increases. Certainly within certain populations have for example the past couple of years. We've seen big push in the city of Portland to re home veterans. And so a lot of veterans getting into new housing so we've seen a big influx of errands that we serve for example. You said that the community you're hell's is he furniture bank. What what does a furniture bank. Different. Well you probably heard of food bank debt and the same idea as a food bank who we are central location that can taking and access sir I am I needed. Items furniture household items and became re distribute them then to. The people who need them in it and efficient way like a food bank to us. So allegro I'm thinking the Oregon food bank who sometimes people go there and and kind of do shopping at the organ predicted people come to community where Elson and shop. Yeah and that's exactly how we I don't think about as so when that. Somebody comes in shopper comes and they come in win. An appointment with their case manager and they're able to select items for their home that they need. The it might need. A dad for every member and their family. They might need a kitchen table and chairs. And then name also might need. Some lamps for their Hamann plates to put on the table that they're getting in and MI mean dad towels and sheets and and other land ends further comments while we want to provide all of the essential items that they need for their home in one stuff. Plus he is he kind of supplied everything. A lot of the current yeah definitely yeah we like to focus on a course that and the basic household items so you know think about. Your first home your first apartment mom and you need to get started with certain things. And so I'm Megan was talking about you know noted that the beds in the catches in the kitchen items is essential household items and that's what we really aim to provide to. Every single clients. The stuff that you guys gave in whereas a come from. Well it comes largely welcomes all from from the public so we rely on donations. From the public so we get a lot of people who are downsizing may be the moving from a house into a smaller apartment. Also people need me who older people live moving into assisted living may have things that they. Need to downsize. I talked to a donor yesterday who is redecorating. And so she just be decorated her room and had some things. I know that you know I go through my own closets every. Periodically and I say don't know why I actually just today I brought in the senate seats. Because I'm like you know I think have too many sheets and I have until I know I'm just in the warehouse and they went out with a client this morning while. And so that's warehouse magic yet there's a pretty quick turnaround for her that items that come into our warehouse we don't. How and very large space says start things and we don't need to because we serve about sixty families a week. So between both of our locations in we have families can mean and I'm her. At picking up the way it just got shut. He dropped off by a donor and that's one of the magical things about the warehouse is that direct connection that you can bring and a set of dishes. Where like Mitch mentioned it. Seats and those are gonna go you're gonna hand them over and they're gonna go out to their family right away and to get to see that direct. Help that you're providing engines is really great for everybody Yahoo! warehouse magic he. But I love that. So do a lot of people are doing some spring cleaning right now. Yes you guys are you playing fast and I don't really I mean I have guys that. Everybody is a sense seemed like they really needed and down and their homes and especially for those items that. Use still really light skin would it be happy to pass sciences somebody else to a friend and neighbor it. Those things can come says warehouse. Looking at things are you in the most need of our I think. Really great question. I'll take also sent off as the program director. I would say our top most needed items that we deal with our mattresses. And you know we we see clients all the time you come in you've been sleep being on the floor in sleeping bag we hear that all the time. And so to get the bed imagine a mom with a couple of kids in the his asleep on the floor. Some mattresses are really to me the most number one key item and just to give you a sense of what we're talking the scope of our talking about here last year we gave out almost 3500 mattresses. Over the guy or a year and if you average that out. Per day so let's say seven days a week that ends up about nine to ten mattresses. Per day for the now that's how many we're gonna need to get in order to sustain. The giving out part that's a whole lot of mattresses. Well a mattress is something that if you are getting a new bid for yourself what you don't know what to do with the old one right probably bring it to now you know what to death and anywhere else. Now of course we have we have criteria. We do inspect every mattress says that comes in and an end done just to be clearly. We inspect every mattress we look at the scenes bed bugs are an issue that we would like to little boy lately not never had a problem on knocking on the counter. But we have to really inspect every Mac dress and make sure that there's no rips sixteens. Compares. Nothing's out of whack so we do very carefully there's pretty high criteria. Ford donated mattresses. We like to call it dignity condition. So think about the condition that your items are in we want to provide our clients with dignity. Note is this a piece that is in the needy condition for us him. Is that true for most items are all items fallen to collect all items that makes such good since. NN end to some of the other essential items that we've been talking about it. Our pillows seem need placed a rest your head at the end of the day pots and hand so you can. Cook home cooked to me all the kitchen table say you consider around the table and eat together as a family. So we we encourage people as there's a scene there items for spring clean mean things that they might wanna donate to the warehouse to. Keep in mind whether this is an item that is a family would really. Benefit from having and they are moving into. Small apartment. Oftentimes. Homes that people are moving into when their first and Philippine island their lives back up. Our small places. And sometimes 400 square foot. So there are some items that are less essential in that kind of space that we may not accept it and something like. What to bed frame for we get. Inquiries all the time and Brad but a very well intentioned people. And who want to donate their way bed frames to us. But we're not able to accept and that there just is too bulky and big and to move around and families are. Often not able to really use those in small states huge entertainment centers yeah yeah I think small spaces can. Today could we could idea if you have we also I am I think it's important to mention that we aren't able to accept and baby items. That we there's another resource in the community northwest children's outreach. That's a great resource fair that America other community resources for some of the specialized items. For example and computers read we don't take computers on tonics and we believe that you. That experts over at free geek who are able to taken knows I had used items. Can freeze your school there's actually a really comprehensive list of items that we do and don't accept I'm not on our website so if you go to community warehouse stop foreign. Up along the top there's a button that says give furniture. And I am and it the listed a couple places by a if you just go to donation drop off there's a great. Expandable possible list of our yes please and don't think you and I am items and so I would recommend that every check that. While they're assessing what they have. Perfect we're talking David mix Nelson and Megan Smith of community warehouse. Now if somebody out there listening is in need of your services how to lead and they get all of you what they do one of the steps. That's a great question so. So we are referral based program. So we do. Rely on a network of over 200 social service agency partners. Meant to coordinate the appointments for their clients. So for example we work with all the large homeless organizations in the city's central city concern transition project. We work with the veterans administration we work with all the DHS offices. We work winds. Drug and alcohol treatment programs mental health treatment programs domestic violence shelters. So we have over 200 community partners so if clients are working with any of of those agencies those agencies will make the appointment on behalf of their clients. To coming to access the warehouse on and they also accompany their client. To the appointment. The next warehouse. So league they come in and they compete color stuff Annette and give it to their new home. Yeah yep and the goal yeah. This community partners has been trained with us on what their claimant has canola clay quick to expect hardest schedule it. The other arrangements that are gonna need to be made him make sure that got all of the items that shopper chooses get to the right place immense. Cornyn. So I am we also. I have orientation it's firfer case managers on the third Thursday of every month in Portland and the first Thursday. Every mountain in Vermont and talked and yes things. We have to location education and yeah Portland and trojans so Portland location is on northeast and I'll pay. 3969 northeast MLK it's on the corner shaver between shaver and failing. And the its Walton location is at 8380 southwest Nyberg road so it's right off I five from. And pretty easily accessible from the car. Got its own people when they hear him say I want to donate and my couch or so person that I can I just bring into one of those locations and how that others were. Actually into that seven days a week. Yup I'm so both locations are open seven days a week to accept donations. Attended for our Monday to Friday and 1030 to four. On the weekends and it doesn't drive right up. And that both of those locations or is what you call an estate store freight. That's right we as has tasters of both toilets and and in Portland. And that's another really wonderful way to be involved with the community warehouse in support what we do. A small percent mention of what has donated to us. Are. They're valuable antiques. Are her and the high end collectibles. Artwork jewelry. Other items that may not be essential for our family to have for their new home. And we are those donations go into our state store. Men are available for purchase. And a 100% of the proceeds from the east Easter goes to support our mission now operations. I was leading interwebs Lleyton of some great pictures of stuff that's in your state store right ankle stuff I'm gonna. So yeah. So if you like if you're big fiesta aware or if you make mid century mine and then how rare and it says you are really into. And from Roseville pottery yeah I think that's sweet kid and learn as some very beautiful clothes sterling silver jewelry we've got all kinds of things in the US states are and it's really worth coming to check out. Yeah and some of the things. Well a couple of things some of the stuff we haven't these days stars think that we just don't use in the program so like we were saying before. There are some things that we don't except in the program. So one big category is. That time and then has the metal rim moves on now we don't get those declines because they're not microwave the money England the dishwasher. So mean tend to put those kinds of sets in the store. So that's why you're way that things get in there and then the other is we actually do have. Some partners. Who donate directly to the states start we have many individual donors. Who are fans of the dates start and so they will actually bring in donations specifically for the estate stork. We also work lists some and furniture companies and consignment stores to donate directly to these states or so. Some of the up a pretty good percentage of the things in the is these are actually donated directly. To the states or for that purpose that's great yep I'm definitely come shopping oh please yes. But sunshine BA who should decide shopping at the estate store in donating for mature rep how else can people help out. To volunteer opportunities well. Actually I'm so happy you mentioned under. Yeah and in addition to the program director and also volunteer manager or not. We rely on volunteers volunteers are so all important critical to our operations. We have to Mina roles for our volunteers and misses in both locations. We have volunteers who basically work in the estates or. So it's kind of like a retail job you greet the pub links you help bring up sales but even more importantly you get to explain our mission. Two choppers who come man who may not know that we're not just another Portland resale shop but there's a mission behind. What your shopping for. So we have volunteers and also patience to work in the states source. And it may have pro volunteers so program volunteers. Worked in the warehouse and they both sort incoming donations. So going through boxes of stuff deciding. What goes to program what might be relevant for the estate store and it also working with case managers and clients to help distribute those items. Directly to the client so it's really a wonderful opportunity. To interact. Directly with clients and act like hand over their new. Plates and silverware to the and it's on fire actually started as a volunteer. About four years ago. My starting in the Portland the State's star and then I decided to try a volunteering in the warehouse and I love them both. So I kind of went back and forth and then the next thing you know. Now I'm tired snow yeah funnel like her but yeah we definitely have volunteer opportunities. Especially in arch Walton location. We need volunteers. Football program and states during art walk to location so if anybody out there live cement area. Go to the website again. Three warehouse style foreign there's a volunteer link right at the top and get in touch. Also there is a vice considering doing the right Latin. There's also of information about your chair a fair to me about that I love the name and the sheriff fare that's critical. Yeah hug that chair affairs Eric annual fundraisers and served big guy that we had. And what's really unique about the chair affairs that we invite. Local artists to transform. Some of the donated. Children's chairs that we have come in. And make them into beautiful art pieces. That then can be sponsored at the event. And play our guests and visionary and given to children. Who come into the program later in the year. And it's so wonderful to see these beautifully trans farms. Pieces of art given your child often times and the kids to come into the warehouse. Hasn't had a lot of stability. It ends on May not have had their own very own piece of furniture that was all there is for a long while and so it's it. Gates is our friend if he says artwork Sudan that's. Gear and food to kids. Is really special allowances cedar eyes light up. It's great yeah that's awesome pictures on the web SIA he's nominated for investors share that I have pictures of some of the chairs and a and there's also chairs from this year on display in both of the estate stores so you can come in and look at the chairs. That will eventually go to. Clients switched it's actually pretty important to know that about half the people we serve every year our kits while. The cherry affair is that is also beautiful even mean with me a gourmet dinner and live entertainment. And we have a silent and live auction and if you're interested in coming and joining us for a magnificent eve mean you can buy tickets and find out more information on our website. It looks like a pretty nice event yes people will be for the sentinel hotel and that's a Purdue hasn't done Arianna selectivity so much fun. Yeah that sounds awesome so what kind of transformations have you seen that in people when they come and do their shopping in two teams is their lives a question. Might actually see this every day we see this everyday but I think everybody who works at three warehouse probably can tell a story of a particular air action and with a client that really touched you. I'll never forget a client that was over this summer her name was Lisa. And she plan is you don't get back on her feet and she came into the warehouse and she picked up. Picked up a whole bunch of stuff she and her son her adult son with her says they were loading up the car while she. Was just so. And grateful and effusive. She. Just kept telling us how. Great this is gonna be to have her new place to have all this stuff she asked if she could hug all of us to she hugged all of us an eighteen by Minnesota referred RG okay. What I I. Did you go there. I didn't fall I couldn't go. But it was just it was just so wonderful in and just touching them and we see it everyday and. I think the ferry from me I love. The hope and the possibility. That coming into the warehouse gives to people who come and it's it's one thing to have keys to an apartment. But it. If you don't know how are you going into. Provide different machines maybe you're going to have to sleep on the floor. May be your brains have doomed. Eat off of a cardboard box. And that we can create a lot of anxiety for people into our don't have the resources to forgotten by other furnishings that they need for their place right off the bat. So I love seeing people come man. I have take out the items that they need and really for for the first time and and after a lot of stress and anxiety. Feel this sense of possibility. For themselves to. Stable I it's relax and have a moment to breathe and be able to build from there. I remember. One woman he came and a few months ago. She had been through. The ringer just with she had a car accident and and back injury she wasn't able to walk for a long while after a surgeries. And lost her job. The subsequently. That she wasn't able to afford her apartment so lost her house seemed. And she and her children were couch surfing in. Which and with a back injury just wasn't able to make any progress towards Recovery Act that's not how I mean. A comfortable place to be sleeping in and she came into the warehouse and because of partnership that we have winds and mattress slot. And who brings an. There returned to root mattresses are. Mattresses that people are replacing and Aaron good condition to us. I'm she found a luxury. King size mattress. To sleep time and who was so overwhelmed by the possibility that this is going to give you. Attacked her in her new place to really. And get back on her feet. By getting the having a great place dale Murphy. I'm gonna feel the and it and diet and if so much more than just a mattress and not the case. Yeah Mercer do you get to follow me for clients like that. To follow follow them file follow up with them and not only lives. Know it sounds. It is it. And it ideally it's a one time experience I had somebody has with us but we do get great. Feedback from people in there at the time of their women are afterward sometimes through. Case manager who works with us regularly. The case managers I'm and then different partner agencies that we work with we do end up having long term. Relationships with and they oftentimes let us know how people are doing and gay is share stories with us. And and sometimes send us letters thank you letter. I don't get letters which is our sun we actually even had a client. Who had come through the warehouse program. And he was you know starting over and he had picked out a futon. And a few months later. He came back and he donated the futon back to us well and he said you know what I was able to get a better Ben. Me and I wanna give this through time back TU silly you can pass it along. To use someone else and that's the relief that that was a really awesome story behind the that they must hear that can stop all the time yet there's actually a minute did mention. Mentioned the website again. It's. There's a blog I think he get terrifying under about us while. And there is a great blog post in there it has a photograph. Of a home plate like a baseball. And home plate. And one of our delivery drivers at the time who is actually now one of our program coordinators. Keenan and he was making a delivery of the furniture to this gentleman. And saw that there was a home quite. And so we took a picture let me ask like wouldn't you know what's this about and the guy says that he felt like in his life he had to. Gone around all the bases of life and now he's finally home. Every tiny glasses are. He walks across home plate and that's normal. Well we have a couple of minutes left we talked about the fact that mattresses are probably the most important thing but what else what are some other items they are looking for. Yeah the great question so some of the other most needed items. Entire pots and pans silverware and dishes. Toasters. Even how can count Tenaris. Dressed surge seats sheets. Alarm clocks. And pillows and blankets he no comfort her is I'm can be. In short supply there's something that people tend to hang on to Ferraro how long time and they're expensive items so row is looking for comfort is in good condition. Yes. I Ko means they're above migraines don't last long in the warehouse that's what so if you are replacing your microwave and it's not broke and microwaves are really great thing about you know some of our older clients who. Can't do the stove top cooking anymore Michael it is really really important to them. So microwaves have a lifespan of like a couple hours in the warehouse. And everything needs to be in working order right tells me on the condition of the condition like everything to me and dignity to. Say yeah we want to be making sure that everything that comes just as something that. That we feel comfortable passing on to a friend. So who knows stained snow and Lynn ends and no reinsert hairs in upholstery. Working condition and we wanna make sure that everything has all of its parts or components. They don't have the ability to fix them through nine and a you know people ask us out all the timing though. They'll bring something it's all like very it's all very good hearted and like you just this just means one little part. But we just don't have the staff capacity. To fix everything that it comes to us so it really does need to be in. Working usable order right away Atlantis saying that they can turn around very quickly at the warehouse so we need to be able to receive it. And then potentially have a go out. The same day yeah so we don't and they don't have time to do a lot of say the cleanup of items that aren't ready to count. Lastly want to tell us again winter locations are your hours when when gonna come shopping at the estate store that's right now and got right now. Yeah we're really now the we'll know right now when you're listening to this program but hey ma and right now is we're recording. On some locations are new car. Northeast MOK which is 3969. Northeast MLK. It's on M okay between shaver and feeling good and then the total patient is 8380 southwest my neighbor who wrote it. Again right off of I five. And both locations. And the warehouses are open to accept donations. Monday to Friday from ten me and to 4 PM or 10:30. AM to 4 PM on. Weekend's vote on the state stars do have slightly different hours the Portland estates store is open at 11 AM to six heat and not Monday to Friday. And then I 1030 to four on the weekends the trunk to the State's star is open from. And so far Monday through Friday and 1030 before on the weekends also it's all on our website yeah a lot of information. Aren't there. But community where else dot org is a place to go yeah that's right that's right possible thanks so much of emotionalism and really fun hey thank you know attacking Syria have been dug with permits Nelson and Megan Smith with community where else thanks again. Mitchell's go is an Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. I'm Gary blocks and if you're involved with a nonprofit or public affairs organization force you have an idea for an upcoming show I'd like to hear from you. Does this microscope PDX dot com and submit your ideas you can also go to the station's website can submit your information there. Thanks for listening to metals gold and enjoy the rest of your weekend.