Space quickly filled to near overflowing at GRACE Donation Station.

“Please be patient and kind with us,” said Shonda Schaefer, GRACE Chief Executive Officer, closing out her Facebook Live post last Saturday.

An incredible influx of donations over the past several weeks had caused a buildup of inventory at GRACE Donation Station.  This is normally a good thing and easily managed by staff and volunteers over a short period of time.

Yet, with a staff and volunteer crew limited to quarter-capacity by state regulations, and CDC guidelines recommending donated materials sit for at least 36 hours before handling, space quickly filled.

Shonda took the unprecedented, but severely needed, measure to close Donation Station for a period of time in order to reorganize and relieve the backlog of materials. Shonda gave voice to these extraordinary circumstances during her Live Facebook Video.

“Grateful, but overwhelmed” were the words she used to describe the feelings of GRACE staff and volunteers. “We want to do the best work we can with the gifts you give,” she said.

“In our nearly 35-year history, the ability to step back, reassess a situation, and move forward with a better process, has been a GRACE hallmark,” said Shonda.

Monday’s opening brings with it the worry we may find ourselves in a similar situation in short order. Shonda offered some suggestions to help with the volume of donations:

  1. Bag donations of clothing instead of using hangers.
  2. Separate clothing by type: women’s clothing, children’s clothing, etc.
  3. Sort housewares into boxes: kitchen, décor, books, games, electronics, etc.
  4. Know what items cannot be accepted: mattresses and pillows, electronics and appliances needing repair, etc. Click on Items We Cannot Accept for a full listing.

Finally, number 5: Volunteer! A few more hands are needed. Time was used this week to ensure Donation Station complies fully with masking and distancing guidelines. A Volunteer Schedule was devised so volunteers can sign-up for specific slots, times and jobs in order to maximize capacity limitations. Please share this link so that others can help!

For more information on volunteering, contact Alicia Fikes, GRACE Volunteer Manager, at 817-305-4655.