Up until the Furniture Ministry was temporarily suspended in November, the program had been serving approximately 750 local families a year! After several months of looking for affordable storage space and assessing ways we could re-establish this important program, we’ve secured a rental space in Old Towne Gaithersburg and learned a lot from visiting A Wider Circle in Silver Spring. Subject to further discussion, our plan includes:
· Household furniture and other household items will be accepted for donation (exceptions are appliances and any item requiring a hook-up), and donors may call the ministry’s phone line or email the church to make arrangements.
· Donation pick-ups will be arranged at earliest opportunity but will be dependent on the availability of storage space and volunteers who can pick-up the items. Items can also be dropped off by donors on Saturday mornings.
· Those wanting to donate food will be referred to St. Martin or, if clothes, to St. John.
· Those needing furniture will need to make their requests through the St. Rose phone line or email address. Furniture will be distributed weekly on Saturdays by appointment. Families/individuals will be scheduled in 30-minute block during which participants will be able to “shop” for their needs from among donated items.
· Items will be distributed to individuals and families based on self-declared need. There will be no income criteria and no limitations according to geographical residency, church affiliation, or other characteristics.
· The distribution location will be at a self-storage location on East Diamond, south of Old Towne Gaithersburg.
· The ministry will pick-up items but no longer deliver. Persons who cannot arrange a pick-up may be able to arrange a small fee-based delivery. Generally, items will not be reserved for individuals.
· The ministry is expected to function about 48 Saturdays a year, but we may build up to that operational schedule over time.
· The ministry will have a Coordinating Board composed of the Ministry Coordinator, team leaders, technology/outreach coordinator, intake coordinator, and others.
· There will be an overall Ministry Coordinator(s), who may or may not serve in another role, e.g., a team captain.
· Four teams will ultimately be created, each working one Saturday a month for about four hours. There will be a team captain for each team including at least one Spanish-speaking person on each team.
· A technology/outreach coordinator and volunteers will maintain the website, promote the program, and leverage in-kind contributions.
· An intake coordinator and volunteers will coordinate donation calls and arrange pick-ups.
· It may be useful to also have volunteers willing to make pick-ups one day a week in addition each Saturday morning.
· We want to advertise in other parishes and recruit volunteers there, as well.
· The church will display a box for contributions to the ministry. These funds will be used primarily to pay the rent costs of a storage facility for donated items and gas for the truck to make pick-ups of donated items.
· We will distribute the SHARE food flyer through furniture ministry, as well as information about other resources that may be helpful to participants.
· All materials will be produced in both Spanish and English.