PODS donation solutions

MOVING SERVICES AND PORTABLE STORAGE FOR THE CITY MISSION

When nonprofit the City Mission was challenged to find storage space and volunteers to participate in homeless housing move-in programs, PODS became the solution to accomplish the task.

THE CITY MISSION OF CLEVELAND

The City Mission, a faith-based nonprofit in Cleveland, provides long-term services to area homeless. Founded in 1910, the nonprofit helps the homeless community navigate a multi-step program with the goal of steady income and affordable housing. The organization has two crisis centers — one for men, and the other for women and children — to provide immediate shelter for the displaced. And the City Mission's New Horizons initiative creates affordable housing for women and their children. Launched in 2014, this program purchases and renovates foreclosed homes from the Cuyahoga Land Bank, a local nonprofit that restores property values to depressed communities. With PODS moving and storage solutions, the City Mission is able to execute such home renovations with ease.

 
The city mission PODS donation

The Challenge: Storage During Renovation Projects

The City Mission solicits furniture and household goods, and accepts donations, for homes renovated as part of the New Horizons program. A lack of storage space meant that City Mission had to use room in a large freight container that stored supplies for the crisis centers. “I needed my own storage containers," says Ashley Field, the community development coordinator. Any storage solution also needed to be weatherproof — wet Cleveland winters don't mix well with delicate television sets, for example — and secure.

Moving donations from the City Mission grounds to the renovated homes proved challenging too, Field says. She needed to find at least 10 to 12 volunteers every time. Volunteers would pick up the goods from the City Mission freight container and transfer everything to a truck. Another volunteer, or two, would drive the truck to the home. A crew of volunteers would then unload the truck and furnish the home. Recruiting volunteers for so many steps wasn't always easy.

 
PODS on-site storage containers

THE PODS SOLUTION: SECURE COMMERCIAL CONTAINERS

Field started working with PODS in January 2019. She schedules delivery of a large PODS container ahead of an anticipated rush in donations. Typically, she assigns one PODS container for each home being renovated. Field supervises donation drop-offs, which occur during the center's business hours. The PODS units are locked after hours, and the City Mission's grounds are under video surveillance. Field maintains a running list of inventory needed for each home and assigns incoming donations to the appropriate container accordingly. When a home's collection is complete, Field schedules a pickup with PODS, which drops it off at the home site. City Mission volunteers unload the furniture and set up the home. PODS then returns the container to City Mission, ready for the next home. Field expects to stage at least two PODS containers year-round to service the New Horizons initiative.

"The PODS storage containers really have been the simplest solution to a huge problem that we have had for a long time. We're so grateful for PODS and will likely keep one or two onsite year-round even if we're not renovating a home. I would hate to have to turn away a great donation because of lack of storage on our end."

— Ashley Field, Community Development Coordinator, The City Mission Cleveland

 
PODS donation collection solutions

The Result: Solving a 'Huge Problem'

Field no longer has to worry about sharing with the crisis centers. “It's really nice to be able to say, 'Okay, this furniture goes to this house' and then all the donations stay secure waiting until the house is ready," Field says. PODS picks up dedicated containers and delivers them to the individual homes, so City Mission no longer has to solicit volunteers to transfer goods. “The selling point was the fact that when we're ready to have the PODS moved to the house, we just have to schedule it with PODS and that's taken care of," Field says.
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“The storage was one of the most stressful parts of renovating a home. Working with Kevin (Cioppa) and having him be so accessible and patient with us, it has been the best experience. I have been really, really impressed with PODS and its customer service."

— Ashley Field, Community Development Coordinator, The City Mission Cleveland

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