GREENFIELD – Leaders of the Hope House aim to begin a new tradition come Oct. 1.
The Hope House, Hancock County’s sole homeless shelter, was founded Oct. 10, 1991. To celebrate 26 years of serving the homeless, executive director Andrea Mallory and store manager Angie Lyon created 10 Days of Giving, a donations drive asking donors to remove one item from their homes they no longer wear or need and place it in the bag for 10 days, returning the bag and donated items to the thrift store on Oct. 10.
Hope House employees and volunteers distributed some 250 red trash bags to people in the community as part of the drive, with more bags available at the shelter, 35 E. Pierson St., and its attached thrift store, which funds more than half of shelter operations.
The donations drive is part of an end-of-year attempt to boost the organization’s bottom line. While the nonprofit’s biggest annual fundraiser, Hops 4 Hope, brought in net profits of more than $31,300, three times more than the event has garnered in the past, Mallory is still working to close a $54,000 gap created by a recent loss of grant dollars.
Earlier this year, officials at the shelter turned down $54,000 in federal grant funding in an effort to safely serve homeless families and children in Hancock, Henry, Rush and Shelby counties.
The Emergency Solutions Grant program, which historically made up 20 percent of the shelter’s $289,000 annual budget, this year changed its guidelines to prohibit safe houses from performing background checks on residents, leading the Hope House to turn down the funding, officials said in May.
The extra funding from the beer-tasting event helped, Mallory said, but there’s still $25,000 to $30,000 to go to make up for that loss. She plans a variety of tactics to compensate, including the donation drive and a 5K in November.
Hope House leaders have also begun reaching out to downtown businesses to get them to host unique furniture items that have been donated to the thrift store in hopes of getting them in front of different audiences, Lyon said.
Greenfield Chocolates owner Jayne Hoadley was the first entrepreneur to agree. A donated antique buffet for sale now stands in the downtown chocolate business, where Lyon hopes to reach a different clientele from the Hope House’s usual customers.
“I thought it was a brilliant idea,” Hoadley said. “If we can help out the Hope House and its mission by hosting a piece of furniture, we’re more than happy to do that.”
Lyon wants people to know items don’t have to fit in the red bags in order for them to be donated — she’s encouraging people to donate larger items like furniture or kids’ toys during this drive in particular.
Larger items like furniture help the thrift store meet its monthly sales goal of about $20,000 per month, Lyon said.
The thrift store supports the Hope House’s mission of helping people get back on their feet, covering some 56 percent of the shelter’s yearly budget. They also partner with 26 other area organizations to provide clothing and other needed items, Lyon said. For example, people detained through Hancock County Community Corrections receive a voucher for three outfits to help them with job interviews, she said.
Support the Hope House and Pennsy Trail
Turkey Day 5K
9 a.m. Nov. 23
Hancock County Memorial Building
98 E. North St., Greenfield
5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 22 at Wooden Bear Brewing Co., 21 W. North St., Greenfield.
Those who pick up their packets during this time will be provided a commemorative pint glass while supplies last.
How to take part in 10 Days of Giving:
Pick up a red bag at the Hope House or Hope House Thrift Shop, 35 E. Pierson St. Greenfield.
Select an item to donate every day from Oct. 1 to Oct. 10 and return the bag at the end of the 10 days.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
For more information, call 317-477-0213.