Occupying a warehouse on Englewood Avenue, the organization has been working with existing local social-service agencies such as the Union Gospel Mission, the YWCA, 211 and Love Inc. It has also partnered with homeless outreach groups, Valley schools and regional food banks to make sure needs are being met as fairly and efficiently as possible.
The Truth Sanctuary, a South Carolina-based organization that set up shop in Yakima last May, follows a surprisingly simple strategy: It obtains overstock personal and household goods from national companies — Amazon, Walmart and Nike, among others — for free, then distributes them to community members in need.
The organization gets thousands of excess items that large companies can’t sell, paying only the cost of transporting the goods, Director Julie Cicero told Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Joel Donofrio.
“Since moving into our warehouse on May 1, we have obtained 25,000 personal and household items with a fair market value of about $500,000, at a cost to us of less than $50,000; and approximately 10,900 boxes or cases of disaster relief products with a fair market value of $135,000, at a cost to us of less than $12,000,” Cicero said.
“Our primary objective is to reduce suffering and empower self-worth and independence to individuals and families in Yakima County who are experiencing financial hardship due to unemployment, insufficient income, homelessness, domestic violence, health issues or other disasters,” said Cicero, who’s a mental health therapist.
In the past six months, that’s meant 62,000 disaster-relief and 10,500 personal and household items going to 5,700 individual people and organizations, according to Cicero. And there were also 4,200 holiday gifts for local kids.
With the Legislature back in business this week for the 2022 special session, the predictable complaints and threats are already crackling on the feed from Olympia. It’s only been two days, but the acrimony and the exaggerated posturing are already getting tiresome.
It makes you wonder: Who’s more relevant, a bunch of people ordering their staffs to issue snarly news releases about their political agendas, or an organization that is 100% funded by grants and donations offering direct help to people who need it?
We’re not saying anybody should ignore politics. Keep voting, keep writing letters to the politicians who represent you, and so on. But don’t discount how much good you can do for your community by simply stepping up.
If it’s any help, we hear Cicero’s looking for volunteers to help out at the Truth Sanctuary.
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