ASHLAND, Ky. — Donors want to give tangible things, like clothing and food, and shy away from donating money to defray operating expenses, Neighbors Helping Neighbors director and CEO Todd Young said.
However, keeping The Neighborhood and its agencies afloat is essential because the work done there goes far beyond feeding and clothing the needy, according to Young.
Agencies in The Neighborhood offer stability in the shape of food, clothing, hygiene and other services. Neighbors Helping Neighbors takes it a step further. Once clients have access to these stabilizing factors, it offers them training and employment opportunities, and then nudges and prods them to improve their own lives.
In some cases, material gifts are misguided. For instance, so many coats come in that he has sent them on to other agencies.
And unusable clothing until recently was a burden because Youmg had to pay to dispose of it.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors turned the clothing surplus into a jobs program.
The textile recycling program at The Neighborhood hires clients on a rotating basis to process the garments and send them out. The clients get training in job skills like driving a forklift and operating a baler, and The Neighborhood make a few dollars on the clothes rather than paying to put them in a landfill.
Another recent program is Work of Art, essentially a makerspace where clients can use their creativity to make items, and sell them if they want.