Donations are a big part of what keeps any non-profit operating. However, the word “donation” often correlates to the word “money,” which can become a sensitive topic. Common questions that we receive are “how can I help?” or “what do you need?”. Very few people like to hear that we need their money. Although that answer may be entirely accurate, the response can be often feel very uncomfortable.
At Treasured Vessels Foundation, we have discovered that, although financial support is vital to our organization’s success, the little things are just as valuable. Items that may not seem to carry much value or that we take for granted, can be so meaningful. Seemingly random items like paintbrushes, journals, white noise machines, outdoor swings, or even a dining room table can mean more to our residents than them knowing we have donors who give money to keep our doors open. Our residents understand the importance of our donor dollars, but it becomes real when they have an item that they can connect it with. Our dining room table in the safe house kitchen was a generous donation. That same table has been with us since our doors opened in 2020. Recently, one of our residents shared with our team that she had never before sat at a dining room table before. Prior to TVF, dining tables were used for holding drugs and weapons. She has never associated a dining room table with eating with your loved ones. Her very first meal at a table was her first day in our program when all of the residents and a team member sat to eat dinner together. That dining room table means the world to this particular resident because it marked her with a meaningful experience. The donor of that table likely never imagined an item would mean so much. The donation was likely thought to be a simple household necessity.
Another donor asked, “what do you need?” The answer was “craft supplies.” So, craft supplies are what she purchased. Craft supplies are necessary for our residents who struggle to find words to describe thoughts and emotions. Although residents may be unable to find the right words, they always seem to find a way to express themselves through a craft. And sometimes the painting, the decoupage of colors and sentences cut out from magazines, or the scribbles on paper say much more than words ever could.
For the residents who cannot sleep in silence because they cannot handle being left alone with their thoughts, or for the resident who needs to have a private conversation, a white noise machine is extremely valuable. Therefore, when we received a bulk donation of white noise machine, we placed one in each room. Residents have expressed countless times how helpful white noise machines are, and they do not know what they would do without one.
TVF is deeply grateful for every donor dollar and donated item. We never know how much a donated item will mean to our residents, and we are always deeply moved when we find out. Donations not only keep our doors open, but they directly impact our residents.
To everyone who has donated dollars, items, or time, we thank you. Not only have our residents’ lives been changed because of donations, but the team’s lives as well. We are grateful.
If you want to donate to TVF, please click the link below to view our Amazon Wishlist. These items go directly to the safe home. Items are updated as needed. If you would like to give a financial gift, please click the link below to sign up.
Author: Liza Lovett, Treasured Vessels Foundation, Program Director