VINTON, Ohio — God’s Hands at Work is growing with the addition of its baby pantry, Bundles of Blessings.
“I saw this need in the community,” said Lisa Carroll, president. “So many young moms and people just starting out, to need like the cribs and high chairs and things like that.”
This inspiration came to Carroll while looking at a room that was full of stored toys that had been donated but no one had taken in some time.
“I thought, if we get rid of all these toys that no one’s taking anyway, we’ll have room to start taking that kind of stuff,” Carroll said.
Carroll said in the beginning of God’s Hands at Work toy donations were accepted, but after some time organizers were able to narrow down accepted items to things that were needed the most.
“That room was full of toys, like [a] crazy amount of toys because people feel like somebody has a fire or whatever, they want to get the kid’s toys right away,” Carroll said. “What they don’t realize is that they don’t have any place to take it to, you know. And if they’re staying in a motel, you can’t take a ton of toys. And usually their friends and family members will donate stuff like that.”
Carroll said the program tries to keep the “nuts and bolts” available and a lot of that is due to storage space.
“When someone has a fire or flood or something, it’s usually just the basic necessities that they need,” Carroll said. “So, in the eight years we’ve been doing this, we’ve really fine tuned it down now to what we carry.”
After cleaning out the room and setting up Bundles of Blessings, Carroll said the room was quickly outgrown, so some of the larger items — car seats, cribs, strollers, etc. — sit out in another area.
Monday was the opening of Bundles of Blessings, which is currently open just one day a month, and the need was evident.
“I didn’t know how it would be received by the community, but I knew that need was there in talking to folks,” Carroll said. “I thought it might take a little while for the word to get out [but] its just been one person after another.”
When people ask how they can help, Carroll said donations and volunteers are always a need.
“In January, we’re going to start doing two a month,” Carroll said. “The only problem I see is keeping stuff, enough stuff is going to be hard. We really need donations from the community.”
Carroll said it took months to collect the larger baby items the center currently holds. She said baby items tend to sell well on Facebook yard sales, making it harder to get donations of the needed items.
Carroll has had some ups and downs in her health over the past few years, one of the reasons the service-center went to one day a week, along with a lack of volunteers. She said sometimes people need help with transporting or moving larger items and currently her husband is the only one to do that.
“I wish we had more volunteers that can help do things like that [move and transport furniture],” Carroll said.
With additional volunteers, the service-center could potentially open an additional day of the week, Carroll said.
Bundles of Blessings is currently open on the third Monday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and serves residents of Gallia, Jackson, Meigs and Vinton counties in Ohio and Mason County, West Virginia.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.