The manner in which the homeless situation is approached varies by state, county/parish, or perhaps even by town. In Homestead there is a wonderful organization called the Chapman Partnership. It was founded by Mr. Alvah Chapman, the former President of the Miami Herald and Chief Executive Officer of Knight Ridder. He was convinced that there was a better way to approach the homeless in Miami-Dade county and the organization that he subsequently built is a testament to what private-public partnerships should be. That, however, is not the precise point of this post. The Chapman Project works with multiple government agencies (all levels) and has an average stay of approximately sixty days before an individual or family is able to move into some type of more permanent housing.
Among numerous interesting aspects of the Chapman partnership is that they also accept a wide variety of donations. The Director of Volunteers and Community Liaison explained that they try, as much as possible, to help people with basic household goods. It was one of those things that I hadn’t really thought about, but I got it. You are homeless and now moving into an apartment or house. Doesn’t it make sense that you will need furniture, household items, etc.? While many charitable organizations accept donations and have thrift shops (which is a good thing), the Chapman partnership is able to funnel appropriate items directly to the same people that they help place in housing.
As some of you may recall from previous posts, I recently lost a very dear friend and I have been assisting her family with moving things. Much of her clothing, unopened food, and other items were contributed to Chapman. I look around our house and know that if I would get myself energized, there are things that we could also contribute. Many people continue to struggle in today’s economy and cash contributions to charities and other non-profits are understandably down. So, have you been considering down-sizing, or at least finally tackling that storage area/garage/basement/attic? Sure, you can do a garage sale and quite frankly, you might want to seriously consider having an expert appraiser come out depending on what you have. But let’s say there’s that old set of pots and pans you haven’t touched since you got the non-stick ones, and why do you still have two extra coffeepots? There is a bookcase crammed with books you haven’t looked at in years, and you’ve never really liked that lamp very much. While charitable organizations almost always perfer cash, serviceable goods can be important, too. Do a kind deed for others and trim some of that stuff you know you need to. Check on-line or make a few calls in your area and see what groups could benefit from the items that you can easily part with. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.