House Manager Report

April 6, 2019

1.     Client Statistics – We served 661 units (families) in the first three months of 2019.  (In 2018 we served 630 in the same time period.  In 2017 we served 522.)  Of the 661 families served, 147 were new.  The 661 families consisted of 970 adults and 920 children for a total of 1890 people.

2.     Saturdays – On Saturday, April 6, we had 1 client – a mother and her adult son who has applied to be a member of Fresh Start.  They shopped for 2 ½ hours.  We had 10 very productive volunteers – 5 were U of M students from Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, 1 was from Alpha Phi Omega. 

3.     Volunteers – We are up to 34 regular volunteers.  In addition we have 2 reliable community service volunteers.  We could always use more. 

4.     Donation Status – Donations continue to pour in.  We are probably saving too many in the garage.  We had a very generous donation from a family (2 parents and 1 small child) who were selling their house and moving into a renovated van that would be their home for the next few years.  We received an amazing range of very useful items from bed linens to dishes and appliances to toys.  Some of the unusual items that were donated included: snorkeling equipment and flower pots.  Both of these were taken with enthusiasm by clients.

Our current needs are (no change from last month):

  • Pots and pans
  • Twin, full, & queen size sheets (we mostly get King size from hotels)
  • Blankets/comforters/spreads of all sizes
  • Small appliances
  • Backpacks/suitcases
  • Plus size women’s clothes
  • Dinner size plates

5.     Business/Community Contacts –

  •   Zeta Tau Alpha sorority (mentioned above) volunteered with us for the first time.  They heard about us from Alpha Phi Omega.
  •   The Treasuring Christ Church sent several volunteers for a Saturday in March – their first time.
  •   Upcoming speaking engagements are:
  •           i.      PEO Chapter on April 22nd
  •           ii.      American Baptist Women gathering at First Baptist Church in Ann Arbor on May 22nd
  •   The Boy Scout Troop that meets at Ann Arbor First UMC has offered to do a project for us.  I still need to submit some ideas to them.
  •   Dixboro United Methodist Church plans to send 3-4 volunteers in April

6.     Community Outreach –

  • DAPCO (Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach) has started sharing space with us on Wednesday, March 13th.  They are set up in the office area which is now used for 3 purposes – (a) giving out free diapers and wipes (DAPCO), (b) mending clothes, sheets and towels, and (c) entering client data into the computer.  
  • On Saturday, April 13th, we will have a table at Mitchell School from 10-12. 
  • We continue to share donations with the Belleville Clothes Closet and 2nd Baptist Church of Ann Arbor on a weekly basis. 

7.     Facility Status –

  • We keep the back hallway very, very clear. But it continues to be a challenge with the amount of donations we are receiving. (NO change here…)
  • We continue to receive positive comments from donors and clients about how well organized the shopping area is.
  • No progress on the awning, carpet cleaning, signage for back door, or bathroom upgrade.  There may be some opportunity for grants here or projects for Boy Scouts!

8.     Safety Issues – No known issues.

9.     Areas that need attention –

  • Documenting procedures – an EMU student, has made good progress with procedures.  Some volunteers have updated the checkout form we use to make it more efficient.
  • Training new volunteers – this will also be addressed by the EMU student.
  • Managing our overflow of donations – suggestions are welcome

10. Client Stories – A new client (a grandmother) came to shop at the House.  Her daughter had recently died of an opioid overdose, leaving behind 5 children which were now the grandmother’s responsibility.  She was able to get clothes for all 5 children.

11. Overall Appearance and Organization – We continue to keep up with the donations but it takes a lot of volunteers.  Having people work on Saturdays is essential.  Shoes are currently our biggest challenge. 

12. Computer plans – We are still waiting.

13. Issues

  • Language barriers – There is still room for improvement here. 
  • Donation overflow (see above)
  • Too much “stuff” in the garage
  • We need a few new racks.  One of the older racks “collapsed”.  We have some more like it that don’t balance well. 

Submitted by,
Mary Danforth, House Manager