This past Saturday Willis Dady hosted our first ever Shop for Shelter! This event was created with the goal of collecting cases of water for our agency: to be utilized at our Emergency Shelter, Willis Dady Works, and by clients served in all of our programs. Community members could purchase water at the Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee from 10-4 on Saturday, July 15th and help us load an Iowa National Guard LMTV. Our goal was to collect enough water to keep our clients hydrated for the rest of the summer. And it was a success!
Why bottled water? Year round we serve clients who have limited access to basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter. While we are proud to offer water fountains at both of our locations, we know this is not enough to keep our clients hydrated and healthy. The simple truth is that bottled water is the most accessible way for many of our clients to meet their water intake needs. This means that as an agency we go through a lot of bottled water, especially in the hot summer months.
We are proud and sincerely touched to report that we had over four pallets of water donated on Saturday! Thank you to each and every person who came out in support to donate water, learn about our programs, or said hello. We would also like to give a special thank you to the Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee for hosting this event and the Iowa National Guard for their assistance. The Iowa National Guard not only manned our table with us all day, but they also loaded each of the waters onto their LMTV. They dutifully unloaded it at the end of the day into our building so it would be ready for clients who are in need of a drink.
"The simple truth is that bottled water is the most accessible way for many of our clients to meet their water intake needs." - Sierra Pope, Volunteer & Operations Coordinator
This event would not have been a success without our community, YOU! Those who have been supporters of Willis Dady over the last several years have noticed the growth we have had. Since our founding in 1987, we have grown to have eight innovative programs and two locations. During our capital campaign shelter expansion from 2017-2019 alone, Veteran Services became formalized and the Rapid Re-Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, Employment Services, and Street Outreach programs were founded.
While we are glad to offer these life-saving services, our financial and supply needs have increased as well. We hope to offer more opportunities like Shop for Shelter for community members to engage with us and donate. In the meantime, please consider making a donation at www.willisdady.org/donate. Our updated needs list can be found on that page or by calling 319-362-7555. No bottle of water, roll of toilet paper, or granola bar is too small!
Together we can empower all experiencing homelessness to build futures of self-sufficiency through advocacy, housing, and employment.