Housing and Homeless

Larger space allows UMOM to expand mission

By adding a warehouse, UMOM New Day Centers can help families in need at a larger scale

PHOENIX (STN) – During the COVID-19 pandemic, UMOM received increased in-kind donations from the community. 

In-kind donations are things like clothing, furniture, cleaning supplies, and anything other than money. But, with that increased community support, came a new puzzle to solve.

“We started to see them in bulk, in volume that we couldn’t accommodate in our small spaces on our UMOM campus,” UMOM Chief Operating Officer Monique Lopez said.

To facilitate the storage and distribution of these donations, UMOM opened a 12,000-square-foot warehouse where in-kind donations were sorted and stored at a much larger scale than was previously available.

“This warehouse is the catalyst and the magic to accomplish a large part of our mission of solving family homelessness,” said UMOM Chief Executive Officer Jackson Fonder. “We have corporations and companies and organizations coming here dropping things off. We rack it, and we stack it, and we inventory it. Then we redistribute it out into the community.”

The space, which resembles a Costco-like warehouse store, has floor-to-ceiling shelves that provide space for donations and allows UMOM to seek additional supplies for their clients.

Go inside the UMOM in-kind donation warehouse:

“When we have a space like this, we’re able to use the power of bulk purchasing to buy what we need in quantities that are advantageous to us and then store it,” said Meaghan Rodeck, UMOM Vice President of Strategy. “We also send our team out regularly to pick up goods from distribution centers that we never would’ve been able to accept in a smaller space.”

While there are benefits to a large warehouse space when it comes to getting homeless families the goods they need, there is hope that more benefits are coming down the road. UMOM is already home to Helpings Cafe, a six-week culinary program providing workforce training and job placement assistance, and UMOM leadership wants to do something similar with the warehouse.

“We are hoping with this warehouse space to evolve that to include a warehouse track where folks can come in, get forklift certified, learn to operate within a warehouse environment,” Lopez said. “Jobs that we know are paying livable wages for our families and single women.”

For more on UMOM and in-kind donations, click here.

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