With the help and generosity of so many in our community, we have now completed MOM’s Building Hope, Strengthening Communities Capital Campaign. The campaign began in the summer of 2013 with the goal of raising $1,400,000. By the end of 2016, we had raised $1.2 million, putting us nearly a year ahead of schedule.
The parking lot was the last phase of our campaign. When Al Ripp, former Executive Director of MOM passed away unexpectedly, the Board decided the most fitting way to memorialize Al was through a campaign to raise the remaining funds for the parking lot since carrying this project through to completion had been something very important to Al. Through donations from generous people in our community, we raised over $60,000 for Al’s memorial. We added that to the $42,000 we had already raised for the project as well as nearly $20,000 in in-kind donations. We were able to complete the parking lot construction in the fall of 2017.
With the campaign completed, the question we ask ourselves is: How has MOM’s new location and larger facility made an impact on our community? Here are some benefits we’ve observed:
1) Consolidated, Central Location. Having all of our services consolidated and centrally located in a location accessible by bus or bicycle—makes it easier for people in the community to use our services. We think of the young man that visits MOM a couple times a week on a bike with a milk carton strapped to his back, picking up food for his young family. We see people coming to the office to see a case manager and then be able to immediately walk across the parking lot for food and clothing.
2) Distribution Center Reception Area. This space decreases the stress level for clients and enables us to offer new services. We see the benefits of this space as we watch excited, young kids looking for books to take home with them from our free library. We see this as we watch parents patiently waiting for their turn to go shopping, sitting in comfortable chairs donated by local businesses in a temperature- controlled, indoor environment. And clients can now visit a table staffedwith local experts to talk about food safety and preparation, or they can sign up for library cards or food share benefits—all here at MOM.
3) Larger Food Pantry. Our food pantry is our most visible service—and perhaps it’s here that we see the impact of our new space more than anywhere else. We now have increased capacity for food and have been able to form more community partnerships. This means more children in our community get the food they need. Our growth has also allowed us to bring in a wider variety of nutritious food. Families with children who use our pantry have more choices now in what they prepare for dinner. And clients have told us that because we now have fruit and vegetables daily they have been able to eat healthier.
4) Volunteer Room. It takes a community of dedicated volunteers to keep our shelves stocked and ensure that food is fresh and safe for the thousands of visitors we see each month. Our new building has a dedicated volunteer space, helping us stay organized and giving our loyal and generous volunteers a place to relax.
5) More Space for Clothing. Our free clothing center is used by hundreds of families each month. Here, a child might find a coat to keep warm in the winter or an adult might find a professional outfit to wear to a job interview. Our new space allows us to store and display more clothing options so we can better meet our clients’ needs.
So what impact has our new space and location made in our community? And how do we measure that? We know that we are now distributing 1.4 million pounds of food each year, with an average of 66 households visiting each day. We distributed 131,000 pounds of clothing and gave utility or housing assistance to 300 families last year. All this was done with the help of 1,500 volunteers. These numbers simply would not have been possible in our old space.
True impact, however, can be harder to capture. Impact is the measure of the difference we make in the lives of the many people who come to MOM. Sometimes we learn about that impact through individual stories. We hear about how we made all the difference for a family by providing the services they needed and giving them hope. We hear from people who no longer need us—that MOM helped them through a difficult time and enabled them to build better lives. We also see the steadying force MOM provides to those who use our services for a longer time such as the elderly or individuals with illnesses or disabilities.
So while our measures remain imperfect, we are certain that the impact of our new space has been huge. And we couldn’t have done it without your support. We can't thank you enough for believing in MOM and our mission to prevent homelessness and end hunger for the many families in our community who come to us in need of assistance.
Bill McDonough the Market President for Starion Financial pledged a $100,000 gift to the MOM Capital Campaign. This was an unsolicited contribution from Starion Financial and the first toward the campaign.
MOM’s foundation was built on the compassion of those who wanted to make a difference in the communities where they live. They cared for the well-being of their neighbors whether they were friends, neighbors or total strangers searching out a better life for themselves and their families.
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