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Household project seeks space to provide families with basics

The Home to Home Project, under the direction of Dawn Clouse, is seeking a new location for its efforts to provide families with household items after natural disasters or other hardship. The project, part of the ministry of Harvest Community Church of Willmar, works with several social service agencies. (Tribune photo by Gretchen Schlosser)

WILLMAR -- The Home to Home Project, a part of the ministry of Harvest Community Church of Willmar, needs a new place to call home.

The project works with several nonprofit social service agencies in the Kandiyohi County area to provide families with basic household items after they experience natural disasters or severe hardships, according to project director Dawn Clouse.

Home to Home began in December and is working out of a donated third-floor space in downtown Willmar. The project has a June 1 deadline to vacate the space because the owner wishes to renovate the property into apartments.

"We need a new space," Clouse said, noting that the project will handle the pooled donations for several social service agencies and provide a one-stop place for people to both donate used items and to obtain needed household goods. "We've talked with the agencies, and it's a win-win situation for everyone."

The group's ideal location would be between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet to store the donated items, Clouse said. Those receiving the goods must be referred to Home to Home after being screened by the service agencies, she stressed.

So far, the project has helped 53 families, with organizers noticing an uptick this month. As of Tuesday, Home to Home had helped 11 families this month, compared to 10 in December and January, 13 in February and nine in March.

The project provides what organizers call the "basic essentials" to set up housekeeping and make a home. The repeated needs, according to Clouse and volunteer Sue Yokum, include couches, beds, bedding and bed frames, dressers, bath and dish towels, pots and pans, dishes, silverware and basic appliances like toasters and can openers.

Baby and children's items cannot be accepted because of liability issues. Similarly, the project doesn't take computers, video games and decorating items. Any clothing donated goes to the church's biannual clothing exchange. The group is also seeing shelving units to organize the donated goods.

Those donating items must make an appointment to donate the goods, according to Harvest Church Pastor Brent Waldemarsen. They can call the church at 320-235-2106 to set up a time.

Clouse and Waldemarsen encourage anyone willing to donate the needed space to call the church number.

Those donating items to the project can claim a tax deduction for the donations, as the project is part of the church's 501(c)3 charitable organization. The group wants to reach out to people dispersing a relative's estate, those downsizing to a smaller home and spring cleaners who want to find a good use for their household items.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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