Transitions & Hope – A Field Trip to Ruth’s House

I have a soft heart.  And I always feel I could be doing more.  Combine these qualities & it’s hard to shake the feeling that I want to do whatever I can to make a difference in the world.  Yet I understand that there are so many things that I can not do – things that are better left to those with a more talent, more skill, more knowledge, more strength.

So to find out what all these amazing people are up to, I have made it a priority to take myself on field trips.

I truly want to understand how our communities work – where the support is, where the need is, who the gatekeepers are, where we find the comforters, the leaders, the change-makers – and a little field trip can offer some insight into those things.

I also want to be a resource of information for you.  You have shown that you care deeply about our world & where your donations are going.  I hear of your desire to find good homes for the things that you no longer want or need – sometimes holding on to things because you want them to be passed on well.

And that’s where I come in.

The more we all know about our community & the needs that are out there, the easier it is to let go & trust that all those items can find their place in the circle of abundance.

This past week I took a field trip to Faribault, MN to Ruth’s House, a non-profit organization which provides transitional and permanent supportive housing to women & children.  I made a call to inquire if they would be another resource for donated items & they graciously invited me in for a tour to answer that question & let me take a peak at how things operate inside the house.

Suzanne, the Development & Operations Manager, took me around the grand white house that was built in the 1890s.  This old house has been set up to provide a safe, stable transition for women & families who face homelessness due to domestic violence, poverty, addiction, health challenges or other issues.

The house is able to accommodate 9  families (women & children) & just like any house, they have lots of systems in place to keep the days running smoothly.  The house offers it’s residents their own bedroom/living space plus community rooms  where they can cook, eat, do their laundry, watch movies & play games, or enjoy time in the backyard.  Not only do the residents have a  comfortable place to stay, they receive support & education during their time at the house from a dedicated staff & wonderful volunteers that share of their talents.

The basement at Ruth’s House has been turned into an efficient little warehouse to store all of the donations & supplies that are used to support the residents.  Volunteers were hard at work sorting through the items that had come in that week.  I was impressed by their ability to keep the space organized & ready to serve the family’s needs – another great system!

It was a great field trip & I left with the image of the artwork that is hanging in the community dining room.  Large, brightly decorated letters that spell out the word HOPE.  Perfect for a space that brings that very thing to our community.

Your Turn…

I left with a short list of items that I will be watching for as we work together & pack up your donation items.  If I notice those items, I will check in with you to see if I can share them with Ruth’s House.

The ongoing donation needs are the typical basics of a family home: toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, laundry soap, dish soap, body wash, lotion, shampoo & conditioner.  They also share a  list of needs in local papers each week and post more info. about drop off times & collection sites on their website.

Because of their limited storage space, it’s best to use the donation list or inquire at their office if you have items that you believe could be useful.

Next Steps…

To find out more about Ruth’s House, learn how you could volunteer, or make a monetary donation, go to their website.  ruthshousemn.org

Have a place you think would make a good field trip?  Let me know with your comments below.