Editor's note: This is the next in a series of articles about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
PARKERSBURG - Essentially Yours is an outreach program which provides basic living essentials required by the homeless to establish a dwelling.
It is a member agency of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Dorothy Dicks discusses some of the essentials Essentially Yours collects and distributes to people trying to get back on their feet and into a home. Essentially Yours distributes dishes, cooking utensils, silverware, pots and pans, sheets, blankets, kitchen and bath towels, small appliances and cleaning products. (Photo by Jody Murphy)
Dorothy Dicks, chairwoman of the group's board, said many times it is difficult, if not impossible, for the transition to be made without having basic necessities to independently live.
Several nonprofit organizations, including the Voices of Triumph Gospel Choir which originated Essentially Yours, the Salvation Army, Community Resources, the United Way Alliance and Westbrook Services, have formed a collaborative specifically to address this need.
Dicks said since Essentially Yours opened in 2010, it has serviced 162 households, only two of which returned for help again.
"We are trying to help those individuals who are struggling," she said. "They get an apartment. They get furniture and don't have money to buy the sheets, towels or dishes. They get frustrated and end up back on the street. We give them those things that will save the little financial burden, the things we take for granted," she said.
Essentially Yours distributes dishes, cooking utensils, silverware, pots and pans, sheets, blankets, kitchen and bath towels, small appliances and cleaning products. Personal hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, toilet paper and others are also dispersed.
Dicks said Essentially Yours is the only such service in the region. It accepts new and gently used home goods that, in turn, will be given free of charge to people in the community who transitioning from homelessness into tenancy through a referral program. Proof of residency will be required to receive the service.
Essentially Yours is open two days a week, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Salvation Army office building on Fifth Street in downtown Parkersburg.
It is a nonprofit, non-salaried, volunteer-based operation which opened in 2010 and operates out of the Salvation Army.
"We rely on donations from the community. We apply for grants from local organizations," Dicks said. "There is no funding. There are no salaries. It's all volunteers."
The service is an arm of the Voices of Triumph ministry, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible. Clients are referred to Essentially Yours from service organizations like the Salvation Army and the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
Donated items may be dropped off at the Salvation Army's main office building.