Donation FAQs

Have questions? We’ve got answers. 

Answers to all of your most asked questions

Donation FAQs

What food items do you need most?
Click this link to view our list of most-needed food items.

What everyday essential items do you need most?
Click this link to view our list of most-needed everyday essential items.

Why don’t you take most clothing donations anymore?
In order to keep staff focused on caring well for the needs of our campus guests and community neighbors, Water Street has partnered with thrift store experts – CommunityAid – to care for our guests’ clothing needs.

When you donate your new or gently used items to CommunityAid on behalf of Water Street, CommunityAid donates a portion of their profits to us. Not only that, but they donate gift cards to their thrift store so our guests can shop for free! 

We do accept a few items though. Click this link to find out more about clothing donations.

Do you take handmade items (hats, scarves, blankets)?
We appreciate the time and care you put into creating handmade items. While these items are fashionable and lovely, they do not adequately protect guests in negative degree weather and wind chill so unfortunately we do not accept those.

What kinds of items do you NOT accept?
Click this link to see a list of donated items we do not currently accept at Water Street, as well as locations you may donate to.

Where can I donate the gently used items that Water Street is unable to receive?
If you have items we are not able to receive at Water Street, we would love to connect you with an organization that can! Click this link to see a list of possible organizations.

Restoration Relief (revised)
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Hours and More

What are your loading dock hours?
Our loading dock is open Monday-Saturday: 7:00am-5:30pm.

Where do I drop off my food/everyday essential donations?
You can bring your item donations to our Water Street Mission loading dock. Click the Drop Off Map button above to see where it is located on our campus.

What if there isn’t a person on the loading dock to receive my donation?
If you would like to receive a receipt for your item donation or receive other assistance with your item donation, please ring the bell by the loading dock.

How do I make a financial donation to Water Street?
Click the Donate Financially button above to make a donation online.

Can I donate items to Water Street in exchange for court-ordered community service hours?
Check with your court official to determine if this is an option for you. If yes, please make sure to ask for a receipt at our loading dock. You will submit this to the court as proof of your donation.

Other questions?

If you have questions regarding donating items or hosting a donation drive, contact Heather Ross at hross@wsm.org.

If you have questions regarding financial donations, contact Sharon Houck at shouck@wsm.org.

An Update from Jack 5/4/2020

12/17/2020

Dear Friends,

Throughout this season, we have encountered a number of challenges in operating our shelter safely. Thankfully we have been blessed to see no community spread among our guests. This is due not only to the work of our team, but also the ways that upgrades to our facilities came at just the right time.

For example, Providence Shelter, which opened in November 2019, provides additional spacing and a top-tier air filtration system. We have also been able to implement the same air filtration standards in our dining hall prior to the most recent wave of COVID.

Because a high percentage of our guests have preexisting health conditions, we have had to be diligent in our safety protocols, doing our best to ensure their safety. For us that has included implanting all CDC disinfecting, masking and social distancing from the very beginning. This has led to major changes in roles and responsibilities of staff. Staff have taken over disinfecting in shifts all over campus. They have also delivered much of our support services and programs through zoom, hosting counseling sessions and classes virtually and meeting in-person with plexi-glass dividers only when necessary.

For meals, we’ve changed preparation and delivery to help minimize interaction of guests who live in different facilities. At times that has meant delivering meals to certain Residential Floors so we can keep smaller groups in the dining hall. We have also had to restrict guests’ travel on and off campus to only essential trips such as going to work, the doctors, shopping etc., in order to minimize unnecessary exposure.

Another change in this season has been how we do intakes. Currently, the intake process requires new guests to be tested for COVID-19. They await their test results in a separate temporary shelter we have set up, before entering Providence Emergency Shelter.

All of these changes have been made while severely limiting the number of volunteers on campus. At one point, all volunteering was completely put on hold. Now, we are running with a third of our normal volunteers.

And it’s been tiring, for both staff and guests. We have had times where many staff were working remotely due to their own health risks. Other times where staff or guests have been quarantined due to exposures. But even with all of the schedule changes, increased overtime, and cross-shift working, our team has done an amazing job persevering through all of the challenges.

What to Expect This Winter Typically we have over 200 total guests on campus, over 100 in our Residential Programs over and 100 in our Emergency Shelters. Although our Residential capacity remains about the same, we have had to reduce the available beds in Providence Shelter to ensure safe spacing overnight from about 75 to 55.

Winter always presents its own challenges, so we anticipate this year will be no different. Women in our Providence Shelter have moved over to the shelter at St. Mary’s across the street, run by the Lancaster Food Hub. During their stay there they have full access to all of our services, including showers, food and staff support. Not only does having women shift to St. Mary’s enable us to free up additional beds for men, it will help us keep the shelter populations separate and limit the risk of spread.

Thank You We have been so encouraged by the support we have received this year. Without a community coming around us and our guests, we would not be able to keep our guests safe and continue to guide them in their restoration journeys. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you.

Jack Crowley

President