With everything closing, frustrations are high. One of the biggest right now is the difficulty of getting supplies, especially for Carver County residents far from a grocery or convenience store, or those that cannot buy supplies in bulk. To help combat this, places all over Carver County are working hard to help those in need. St. John’s United Church of Christ, for example, has partnered with His House Foundation to help bring supplies to anyone who needs them.
“Not everybody can afford to buy things in bulk, like toilet paper and laundry detergent,” said Catherine Kolwey, pastor for St. John’s UCC. “We’re working with His House to help those people get what they need.”
St. John’s and His House were actually already in contact before the COVID-19 outbreak to create a way to help the community, according to Kolwey. The pandemic simply sped up the process, and made a few specific goals, namely the things that are hard to get in the store right now: toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and laundry detergent.
“What we’re asking is that anyone who buys in bulk look at what they bought and give just a couple things, like a couple rolls of toilet paper, so those without can at least can one or two,” said Kolwey. “I buy in bulk myself, and I can definitely afford to give a couple things.”
The idea is fairly simple: those who can afford to donate, even if only one or two detergent pods, can do so. To do this, donors can go to St. John’s and make a drop off just outside the front door in a large bin. His House will come and pick up the donations every other day to then distribute to those in need of them.
St. John’s specifically is only doing supplies, not food, and is looking for the following supplies.
“We’re going to collect basic necessities, like bathroom tissue, cleaning products, and soap,” said Martha Brannon, executive director for His House Foundation.
His House, however, is also working with the county to help distribute food for a while now. The idea is somewhat different when it comes to them delivering food, as they typically deliver to those who don’t have a kitchen, so they bring already cooked food out to those in need.
“It’s really for people in crisis who are homeless or living in transition,” said Martha Brannon, executive director for His House. “We were already having a collaborative effort started with St. John’s to bring this out to the west when all the changes started.”
Usually, His House picks up food from restaurants that’s cooked and ready to go, as well as supplies. Now, things are a little unique, though, with social distancing being encouraged and everyone attempting to minimize risk. The volunteers still deliver food via a county-issue refrigerated van, though right now they do what a lot of delivery drivers are offering: no contact drop offs.
Just recently, His House brought a donation to someone that was self-quarantined, according to Brannon. The volunteer still brings the food and supplies to the drop-off location, placing them on a stoop or just outside the door. The person receiving the supplies is then called so they know that the delivery is ready and waiting to be picked up.
His House is also working with other organizations around the county. They’re communicating with schools as well as many other churches. But what made St. John’s a great point to start out in western Carver County was their location.
“People drive by us every day, either heading to work or just out of town for a bit,” said Kolwey. “We’re also pretty central, with Waconia and Watertown so close.”
And while His House is more for folks in need, the program is looking to serve everyone in need. For example, if you are in need of toilet paper, yet all of the stores are out, you can visit St. John’s or contact His House and they will do their best to help.
“If we feel that we have it, and you need it, we’ll give it to you,” said Brannon. “And if we don’t have it, we’ll find out who does.”
Looking to help out folks? St. John’s will have a large bin outside of the front door for the foreseeable future, open and ready for donations. Everything supply-wise can help, from paper products to cleaning supplies, like detergent, sanitizer, or soap. Looking to get help from His House? Contact Martha Brannon at email@example.com to chat and see how they can help you. Anyone interested in a getting a donation bin set up can also contact Brannon.