If you live in Central Pennsylvania, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Started by the Lancaster County Community Foundation in 2012, the Extraordinary Give has raised over $82 million to date and the names of organizations to which you can donate keeps on growing.
One of my personal favorite charities participating in the Extraordinary Give is Off The Streets, an organization dedicated to getting persons experiencing homelessness off the street and into affordable housing. Every Saturday despite rain, snow, heat, or holidays, Off The Streets does two moves, helping single persons and families into long-term housing by supplying the first and last month’s security deposit and the furniture needed to start a new life. And they do it all without a paid staff and very little overhead.
Much of Off The Streets’ equipment like the moving van and the warehouse space where donated furniture is stored has been gifted to Off The Streets. This assures cash donations can be used where needed — to pay the start up costs for the landlord, and to get additional products like toiletries so the newly housed can get the best start possible.
Headed by founder Deacon Mike Oles who started the first chapter of Off The Streets in Danbury, Connecticut, Deacon Mike and OTS have gotten an additional 4,000 people into long-term, affordable housing since moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 2014. OTS works with local organizations who serve the homeless and it depends on those organizations to do the initial screening of applicants, assuring, among other things, that the applicant has sufficient funds to pay the rent going forward. A little know fact is that many people experiencing homeless are actually working homeless.
Off The Streets is an incredible organization, demonstrating what can be done in any community to eradicate homelessness. So why don’t you give today?
If you are interested in starting a chapter in your area, contact Deacon Mike at at 203-482-1460, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isn’t it amazing what a small group of dedicated volunteers can do to change the world.