Helen’s Hope Chest from Mesa, Arizona – Non-profit Interview
Arizona Roofing systems from Arizona, Mesa, a local professional roofing company, wants to help to local non-governmental and non-profit organizations which are giving a great contribution to our society. Very often, they are struggling with many problems, especially financial, and we thought that we could somehow help them out if we share their story with the local people.
One among many organizations is Helen’s Hope Chest with the mission to provide the basic needs free of cost to foster families from Arizona. Also, they are organizing many special events coming soon, so think about joining and get familiar with their work!
1. What do you do exactly?
Helen’s Hope Chest is providing free clothes, hygiene products, school supplies, books, toys and many other basic needs for the foster families around Arizona. This is done through a well-organized schedule, and the clients may return once every four months.
2. Why do you do that? What motivates you?
Our biggest motivation is helping to alleviate the financial strain of families which have opened their home to a child in need. Children often come into the fosters without anything else except some clothes on their backs. Also, some families are struggling to provide all of the child’s needs to their children. The situation when the new caretaker is also the child’s retired grandparent is also very hard to handle. All of a sudden, the grandparent has to stretch his, often very poor, monthly incomes even more than until that moment. Here at Helen’s Hope Chest, every day brings something new that gives our staff and volunteers the motivation, energy and will to stay here and help the children, even though it is a very demanding work. We are very often in need of some donations, and when it comes to that point, somebody always helps by asking their neighbors, friends, and everyone he can for help in collecting the needs. And it is also very beautiful that many of the foster families turn back the gifts once their child doesn’t need them anymore because they, for example, outgrow the clothes. It is very encouraging seeing that someone who once needed our help now wants to help others! Maybe the most beautiful thing is when we see with our own eyes that the child that once needed our help pass through a positive change here at Helen’s Hope Chest. Mostly all of the children who have been living in a foster home have also suffered some kind of physical or emotional trauma, and that for, many of them are affected with serious behavioral or social challenges. Most of our clients are families that have been taking care of a new foster child recently, and they have to get know each other through some time. But, whenever the child starts to live a normal every day’s life just like any regular kid, the improvement in his behavior and attitude amazingly goes up! If both the child and the caretakers leave happier than when they arrived, our day is fulfilled too we know we are doing a great work!
3. Most ridicule moment you had to face? An interesting or fun anecdote you’ve encountered in your work that you’d like to share.
Here at Helen’s Hope Chest, there’s always something interesting happening. The latest interesting example is the fact we received a great donation of about 200 boxes of CloSys toothpaste and mouthwash. And the most interesting part is that the whole parking lot had a smell of peppermint and bubblegum the next day also. But it was actually lovely and fun.
4. What was the hardest/toughest moments you had to deal with? Also, what is the biggest challenge you’re faced with today? Obstacles you faced when dealing with bureaucracy, permits, funding, etc. Something you would like to point out for anyone who might be starting its own organization.
Helen’s Hope Chest was established in 2009, and that was a great fortune for us. We got our 501(c)(3) non-profit status very quickly approved because we had a big help from Mesa United Way. Also, we were connected to donors who wanted to help us very quickly. We also received help from the City of Mesa and Gorman Construction Co. with the design and donation of a new 8,000 square-foot facility which can receive 900 children per month. The best way to start a non-profit organization is to be connected with smart and perspective people who would like to help you with the project because they believe in you and your idea. Every unplanned problem and challenge can be needy, but we always have a chance to learn something from it. Fortunately, we have our loyal volunteers who are doing an amazing job, and we can count on their plans for the future anytime. Of course, a problem occurs when we don’t get donations on time and then you have to think quickly and solve the problem. In situations like this, the most important financial resource are donations from individuals and our local businesses. Luckily, those reservations help us to undisturbedly continue with our job.
5. What separates you from the rest? Why you? Is there a reason you couldn’t join a similar existing organization? Are they not skilled or professional enough to address the problems you had to face.
Mesa United Way is a non-profit which serves Mesa’s inhabitants for almost 100 years, and Helen’s Hope Chest was established under their program. Although they are many excellent non-profits around Arizona which have been doing a similar job, Helen’s Hope Chest is unique for several reasons. Our personnel and volunteers are proud of having health, open and warm atmosphere, and all the kids like to spend their time with us.
A healthy environment and a pleasant atmosphere are also very important to keep our client regain the dignity, but respect is also unavoidable so they could feel good while picking out clothes and other stuff. To be honest, sometimes work with donated goods present be a big undertaking. Almost one thousand volunteer hours per month and our loyal donors are saving us so that the donations could go into the right hands. Doing our job effectively sometimes can be really hard because we are still a relatively new organization and still don’t have enough volunteers for our needs.
6. Do you have any upcoming events for this year?
Yes, we have several upcoming events!
The first is Mesa United Way’s Community Celebration at 10am-2pm, Saturday, November 4th. We will give several awards to local business and community organizations which had excellent United Way campaings during 2016. That will be a very interesting event with some live music performance and food. The entrance is opened and free for everyone, but everyone can donate some toys for JaKelle’s Christmas Box, our annual holiday toy drive for foster kids.
A second event is Las Sendas Food Truck Friday at 5am-9pm, Friday, November 3rd, at 7900 E Eagle Crest Dr, Mesa, AZ 85207. We will be there to present our organization, work, and goals. Everyone interested could come and find out more about Helen’s Hope Chest. You can also meet our colleagues and volunteers, and donate to JaKelle’s Christmas Box if you can.
The third one is JaKelle’s Christmas Box: Now thru Dec 11th, at the Helen’s Hope Chest facility, 126 E. University Dr., Mesa, Az 85201. We will distribute the toys to 3000 local foster children during the week of December 11th. Also, we have the offer to co-branded sponsorship for local businesses, local families, neighborhoods and church communities, and similar social communities.
The contact person is John Zielonka @ john.[email protected] or 480-834-2115 for more information.
7. Tell us about your goals.
Our biggest wish and mission is to give our help to Arizona’s foster families through the efficient supporting program. That for, we are taking our work very seriously and try to be excellent in every working domain. We have to be sure that we spend our time, donations of all type and financials very carefully and with a good plan. At the same time, we have a very effective feedback from our clients and many different evidence that we are doing a great job. If you want some proves measured in number format, take a look at the following successful facts about our organization:
– we are serving between 750 and 900 clients per month
– during 2016, we served 5,904 clients during the time of holidays and starting school
– our volunteer working hours circulate between 1000 and 1500 per month
– we received 4350 donations from individual donators in 2016
– around 80-90% of our clients are very satisfied with our work and give as the 5/5 rating
– by the national and regional standards for good and services, all the money we collect through donations to Helen’s Hope Chest and Mesa United Way programs, is leveraged to yield the impact of seven dollars. We are all very satisfied, but we are also reconsidering other opportunities which could help us to put our work on the next level.
8. What was the most fulfilling moment that happened to you?
I had a very emotive experience at the very beginning when I started here at Helen’s Hope Chest. My volunteer group and I were cleaning and sorting the books which have recently been donated. All of the sudden, one paper slip fell out from the book, and the poem was written on it. It was from the former foster kid, and he described the night when his mother left him. It sounds very sad now when I’m talking about it, but it was actually very encouraging. The reader should be another foster child who would get the book, and it should help him to be strong and brave during the challenging time.
Anything else you would like to add?
We are inviting everyone to redeem their 2017 Arizona Foster Care Tax Credit by financial donation to Helen’s Hope Chest (for individual up to $500 and for couples up to $1000).
The donations will be counted as a dollar-for-dollar credit so that would reduce your 2017 Arizona state tax bill. Also, that really is a noble opportunity to give your support and contribution to the local community with dollars you should otherwise give for paying tax. If you aren’t informed enough, take a look at our website or in person at 126 E. University Dr., Mesa, Az 85201.
Helen’s Hope Chest
126 E University Dr
P: +1 480-969-5411
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find more information here:
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