Although Harbor House has received an outpouring of support from the community for our Paws for Peace Kennel, we wanted to take the opportunity before our Paws Walk this coming Saturday to highlight the in-kind donation center, funded by Dr. Phillips Charities, which will be attached to the kennel building. For those not familiar with the non-profit term “in-kind,” it means any goods, commodities or services donated other than cash.
The construction of the in-kind donation center not only removes inhibiting factors that cause victims to stay in abusive homes, such as space to bring the valuables and possessions that they are reluctant to leave behind, it will also allow Harbor House to cut operating expenses and focus more of its resources on its core mission, to better meet the needs of survivors whom we serve.
The donation center is truly a multifunctional, innovative facility for a domestic violence shelter that is designed to improve Harbor House’s capacity in both the immediate and long-term future. Due to space restrictions and lack of materials, such as high-volume freezer and refrigeration units, Harbor House is unable to utilize many of the generous food, produce, and poultry donations it receives. Shelter advocates and staff oftentimes must purchase additional perishable food as needed. This creates increased expenses in the agency’s valuable unrestricted funding, as well as consumes the Shelter advocates’ time from working with survivors, safety planning, or responding to hotline calls.
Another way that the donation center will help advance Harbor House’s core mission by cutting operating costs is through the inclusion of an onsite maintenance and repair facility. Similar to the scenario faced by food donations, Harbor House often must turn down valuable in-kind donations, such as lumber and tools, which could be used for routine upkeep projects. However, space and facility limitations do not allow Harbor House to store the supplies necessary or provide the room needed to complete such projects, which results in procuring an outside contractor at an incremental expense for maintenance and repair projects that would otherwise be completed by Harbor House’s competent and experienced maintenance staff.
Overall, with the generosity of Dr. Phillips Charities, this innovative donation center will allow Harbor House to house all of its valuable in-kind donations – from cleaning and construction materials to food and baby supplies – and significantly reduce operating costs incurred throughout the year. We will be better positioned, both financially and through improved service delivery, to meet the needs of domestic violence survivors and position them for future success, safety and prosperity.