The Rapidian

Expressing Passion this Holiday Season

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Dwelling Place volunteers improve the lives of people by assembling, creating, and donating supplies for Welcome Home Baskets.
Dwelling Place volunteers participate in a wide variety of supportive projects, including Welcome Home Basket-building

Dwelling Place volunteers participate in a wide variety of supportive projects, including Welcome Home Basket-building

Underwriting support from:
Owens and Henderson work daily to harness the passion of volunteers as they coordinate projects to improve the lives of people

Owens and Henderson work daily to harness the passion of volunteers as they coordinate projects to improve the lives of people

Each Welcome Home Basket includes a personalized note, household cleaning supplies, and comfort items like pillows and towels

Each Welcome Home Basket includes a personalized note, household cleaning supplies, and comfort items like pillows and towels

“Donating is thankfulness; I’m thankful for the things that I have in my life, so when I see people without those things, I need to be reminded that it does matter and that I can help people,” says Austin Owens, the Safety Supervisor for the Grand Rapids Day-Sort for UPS. Owens and his volunteer team, through donations and hours of work, helped create twenty new Welcome Home baskets for low income residents moving into new Dwelling Place apartments. “You have to know the worth of yourself and worth of your giving.”

During the holiday season, collections drives for toys, coats and gifts are common, but organizations like Dwelling Place are collecting specific items all year long to match the all-seasons need of housing security. 

Throughout the year, Dwelling Place Volunteer Coordinator Amy Henderson, donors, and volunteers have been putting together Welcome Home baskets for new residents moving into their living spaces for the first time. Often times, residents receiving Welcome Home Baskets are transitioning out of homelessness into a permanently supportive apartment in a Dwelling Place community and don’t have access to basic household supplies. And although these are essential items to many, Owens reminds us that “...it’s not really about the items, it is about the thoughts behind them. And that's why I love Dwelling Place so much.” 

Dwelling Place was lucky to meet such a passionate volunteer leader like Owens. The relationship was born out of a partnership with both the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and a UPS Branch in Wyoming for a collections drive this fall. Staff at UPS collected laundry detergent, bathroom tissue, cleaners, new towels, pillow cases, and other household goods. They were being packaged together in a laundry basket to welcome new residents and families as they move into Harrison Park and Pine Avenue Apartments, two Dwelling Place apartment communities currently under development. “Everyone wants people to be established and have a home, to also say Welcome Home. It is not a basket; it is a Welcome Home Basket and it makes people feel that ‘oh, I’m home.’”

Owens encourages donors to jump into volunteering by starting a drive. “You have to think about the bigger picture. I’m passionate about helping others; passion is contagious. So non-profit organizations like  Dwelling Place make it easy for me to get everyone on board.” 

Dwelling Place Volunteer Coordinator Amy Henderson has made it easy for individuals and organizations to get involved. “The shopping list is now created with suggestions by both current residents and resident coordinators... We include prices ranges on our list so it makes it easier for people to donate  as much as they can. We are always revising the list as new items of need arise.” 

Thank you to all of our volunteers, residents, and organizations that have donated and helped Dwelling Place with our Collection Drives. To sign up to host a collection drive contact Dwelling Place at [email protected]

 

With a mission to improve the lives of people by creating quality affordable housing, providing essential support services and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization, Dwelling Place serves families and people in 4 counties across West Michigan. Dwelling Place is powered by volunteers and numerous staff persons; guest writers create our Rapidian content. Special thanks to Samuel Asare-Konadu for his contribution of this piece. Sam is a Marketing & Outreach Intern at Dwelling Place. He is a senior at Aquinas College and studies Business Administration and Sports Management.

 

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