Service center

Community service center sees surge in patrons and donations, seeks to expand storage space

The Adventist Community Service Center in Fort Madison, Iowa, is looking to expand its storage after seeing an increase in both customers and item donations.

The center, which was closed for a time due to COVID-19, reopened in July 2020. According to center manager Janie Warner, the center was so full of donations that it was difficult to walk around. ‘interior, which led the staff to set up. set up tables outside for those who need them.

While the center has reopened its building to the public, it is struggling to store all the donations received, according to the center’s deputy director, Rich Barlow. “We’re jam-packed with the donations we have,” Barlow said.

To overcome the lack of storage, donations are currently stored in the center office, a hangar located next to the center, a volunteer garage and inside the center itself.

Part of the increase in donations came after the local Salvation Army closed. Warner said the center was blessed to receive so many donations, especially after seeing a 30-40% increase in clients over the past ten months.

With the local Salvation Army closed, many volunteers believe the center is more important than ever.

“The center is very essential,” said Karole Smith, a volunteer. “I think we’re seeing a lot more people relying on [on the center since the Salvation Army closed].”

Item donations continued to increase, by about 20%, after the center was featured in a local newspaper, leading to greater community awareness, according to Warner. To cope with the increase in donations and customers, staff at the center looked at new storage options. After some research, center staff decided to fundraise for an additional storage unit. The storage unit, which will measure 12 feet by 28 feet and include an attic, will cost around $8,000, according to Warner.

“The storage unit we’re considering buying will give us maximum space for the money,” Barlow said.

The center does not charge customers for items and relies solely on donations and support from the Fort Madison Church to operate. The decision not to charge customers is directly linked to the centre’s philosophy: “Help everyone”.

“Jesus hardly ever fired anyone,” Warner said. “That’s what we think we should be doing.”

“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 items to people who need them.”

Wayland Lively, a volunteer at the center and pastor at Fort Madison Church, said the center hopes, in addition to providing those in need with clothing and other items, it will also meet the spiritual needs of the community. community. “We want to connect with the community so that we can connect with the spiritual health of the community,” Lively said.

The center also offers all of its clients free Adventist literature and frequently invites clients to church and Bible studies.

“Sometimes I feel down because we don’t have anyone at church or a Bible study,” Warner said, “but I keep reminding myself, ‘We’re planting seeds, we’re planting seeds .'”

This article was originally published on the North American Division News Site