GALLIPOLIS — God’s Hands at Work has relocated to the Spring Valley Plaza on Jackson Pike in Gallia County in an effort to assist more of the community.
The nonprofit serves citizens in Gallia, Meigs, Vinton and Jackson counties in Ohio and Mason County, West Virginia.
The service center has been located in Vinton for six of its eight years of operation.
“We feel very blessed to have had the Vinton location and it was our first home, so we are definitely going to miss it. We’re so grateful that we had it,” said Lisa Carroll, president of the organization. “But we knew that we can serve folks much more efficiently and effectively if we were in a more central location.”
Carroll said she kept her eyes open for years in case something more centrally located opened up.
“Alicia Simpkins who is the office manager for the Spring Valley Plaza… she contacted me right before Christmas, that they had some personal hygiene things she wanted to donate,” Carroll said. “I had felt this thumb in my back, I call it, to call down here and see. I knew there were empty spaces here, but I thought we can’t afford it, you know. I kept saying, ‘Lord, but we can’t afford that,’ and I still felt this thumb in my back to call.”
Carroll said when Simpkins called about dropping off the donations, she took advantage of the timing and asked if there was anything open. Simpkins then had Carroll come take a look at a space.
“We really fell in love with this space,” Carroll said. “[We] started looking at our finances and figuring it out — what it cost us to be in Vinton last year compared to what it would cost here for a year. And there was minimal difference, only a $1,500 difference.”
Carroll said the difference will mean a little extra fundraising for the organization, but it will be worthwhile.
“I think it will be worth it to the community for us to be closer,” Carroll said. “We’re right off the highway for the folks coming from Mason County, Meigs County, Jackson County. Vinton County we’re a little bit further away…”
Carroll said the organization has been moving into the new service center for about two weeks, with plans to be fully operating by Feb. 28 and have already seen the benefit from the more central location.
“We’ve already seen an increase in donations, as far as furniture. Our prom dress program that’s coming up, we’ve had a lot more donations dropped off for it,” Carroll said. “And clients have been able to get here much easier. So, we’re really excited for what it means for the community.”
Carroll said the new center has a little less space than the previous one, but they are making it work.
With a new location comes new hours. Carroll said the center will implement the new hours on Feb. 28. The new hours also include an extra day for clients. Hours will be Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The baby pantry will continue to be on the third Monday of the month.
“[The hours] will enable folks who work during the day to be able to come after work if they have a need,” Carroll said. “We may end up adding more hours later on, we’re just going [to] do that extra day plus those extra hours for right now.”
Carroll said with an easier location, she anticipates a busier service center — if the need is there more hours will be added in the future.
While the center is easier to reach, Carroll is welcoming any and all volunteers.
Carroll and her husband have done the bulk of the moving from Vinton to Spring Valley with volunteers from Cardinal Recovery helping with the lifting that Carroll is unable to do.
Carroll said as furniture comes in and out — one load of furniture has already went out since the move — there is always rearranging to be done. She also said there are plenty of volunteer opportunities aside from the furniture moving.
The community has been supportive with the new location, giving plenty of positive feedback.
“We give and receive referrals with about 40-50 agencies between the five counties and every caseworker that I’ve talked [to] about it is thrilled to death because it’s much more convenient for them,” Carroll said. “On our Facebook page, we’ve just gotten a lot of great feedback.”
Carroll said the convenience has extended to deliveries as well.
“There’s a donor, who is originally from Gallia County, he donated money for us to be able to get [coats.] They offered a special where you didn’t have to pay for the coat, you just had to pay $5 each for the shipping and handling…,” Carroll said. “It was $1,500 work of coats for $300. So, even getting a delivery like that was much easier because it’s more centrally located for us too.”
Carroll said deliveries to Vinton meant someone being at the service center for an open window of time, waiting on a delivery. The new location is closer to not only Carroll, but other board members, making running over for a delivery a quick errand.
While God’s Hands at Work relocates, the organization welcomes all volunteers and donations of furniture, nonperishable food, can openers, disposable silverware and baby items.
The coat giveaway will be held on Feb. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with some adult coats available but mostly children coats.
The nonprofit is also hosting a Love Thy Neighbor fundraiser throughout February. The fundraiser asks each household to donate one dollar per member in the home to the organization to help neighbors in the community.
The donation can be dropped off in God’s Hands at Work mailbox, dropped off at the center, sent via PayPal through their website — godshandsatwork.org — or mailed — 1170 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis Ohio.
Carroll said the nonprofit has also welcomed new board members: Crystal Cox, secretary/treasurer; Mary Moffett, vice-president and Amy Beaver, event coordinator. Carroll will stay in the president/executive director role and former board members Sue Wood Allen and Tammy Knox-Rote have ensured they would still be around to help.
To keep up with the nonprofit, join God’s Hands at Work Facebook group. To volunteer or donate items, contact Carroll at 740-645-7609.
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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.