Jessie’s House, the shelter by the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation (JMMF), recently opened and donations have been flowing in.
“We love that people are robustly donating and that they care about the Jessie’s House,” says Teena Hughson, community engagement coordinator, “however, it is vitally important that all donors first check the requirements on our site and book an appointment before dropping off their items. People are eager to give; it’s truly heartwarming. However, we have very quickly reached the limits of our staff, our volunteers, and our physical capacity to sort and store donations. To make sure we take only what we need, we have a wish list on our website and update our social media every Wednesday. Whenever you’re not sure, please ask when you call to book your appointment.”
They also encourage the community to conduct donations drives on JMMF’s behalf. One team that did this was the women’s group from Spruce Grove’s The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. After seeing an article about Jessie’s House online, Ardella Hall connected with the JMMF and organized a donation drive of items requested by the Foundation. A full carload of donations was delivered, by appointment, to Jessie’s House, for which the JMMF extends its heartfelt thanks.
Teena continues, “It’s important to bring only what foundation needs. Jessie’s House staff and volunteers aren’t equipped with a great deal of space or time to recycle or dispose of unneeded items. And, remember your donation is a gift, so please make sure it something you would feel comfortable giving a loved one or close friend. The majority of donations we received have been wonderful, but our staff and volunteers have had to take time away from their regular duties to sort through items that are too dirty and damaged to pass along. All clothing should be freshly laundered, folded and free of rips, stains and holes. Our residents have been living in fear and without dignity. Their children have missed out on birthday parties and special events. Our client families are scared, hurting, and rebuilding their lives. It’s why we request new, unwrapped toys and gifts.”
JMMF respectfully asks that donors:
• Strongly consider donating cash instead of goods as there is a backlog of items to process.
• Call to volunteer if you can help process items, or if you own a storage/junk removal company and wish to provide a discounted service or volunteer trucks and labour.
• Always check the items needed list before donating and call for an appointment for drop offs.
• Ensure donated items are clean when they arrive.
It can feel good to donate items you no longer need to charitable organizations, especially when it coincides with decluttering your house. Remember, however, that if it is broken, excessively dirty, or requires extra storage, you are hurting, not helping, the cause. JMMF knows the intent behind most donations is good, and urgently reminds all donors to please follow the donor guidelines. Ask yourself with each donation, “would I pass the item to a loved one?” If not, please consider saving that item for a rummage sale instead of a donation.
Meanwhile, the JMMF thanks everyone for their overwhelming support and looks forward to continuing to provide the important services available at Jessie’s House.