9am, any morning. Our doors open to an already active scene in the parking lot. The shift manager stands dutifully at her station, finalizing the day’s schedule. Volunteers neaten, dust, and organize, while Ira and Barbara bustle about, getting ready to tackle any number of projects. Bobby is most likely on a “furniture run,” while Sharon, Brigid and Jane are hunched over their computers, hard at work in the back offices.
And they’re off. Clients check in at the front counter, and are then assigned a letter, a cart for the small stuff, and, most importantly, a volunteer, who will be their guide throughout their journey today.
Our clients are often, understandably, timid at first arrival as they are faced with such unfamiliar surroundings. A volunteer coaxes them through the facility, infusing them with the confidence to choose those items that most appeal to them. Some are delighted that we have curtains. Others, astounded that, yes, they can have a TV! They dispense their letter stickers with enthusiasm and resolve. Soon they are smiling and satisfied with their selections: all the ingredients of a living room, a dining room, a kitchen – and beds at last!
Our volunteers – with Ira and Barb front and center, of course – rally ‘round to load their wares like a well-oiled machine. No, that’s too impersonal, more like family or friends lending a ready, willing hand. Welcome to Household Goods!
Originally published February 2012; Revised and updated March 2016.