The Well at Sunnyside provides updates on new program, donation policies

The Well at Sunnyside thanked the community for its continued support Tuesday and announced a new program coming to the non-profit.

The Well Executive Director Jon R. Creamer said during an interview that they are incredibly blessed with so many good programs going on at The Well.

“We just completed an amazing tax season where our volunteers helped so many clients,” Creamer said. “Little old Fayette County was fourth in the entire state for the number of returns we got. Canton was number one, Toledo did number two, so we did incredible. We also just finished up Kids Cafe, we went for 12 weeks and had about 80 kids a day. Beginning the school season, we did 300 backpacks, and all of that was donated. They were specific backpacks. We had people come in and spend hours putting together a fifth grade backpack for Miami Trace and Washington Court House, fourth grade backpack for Belle Aire or a second grade backpack for Miami Trace. It took a ton of time, but we helped out a lot of kids.”

Creamer also announced a new program coming to The Well this fall that he hopes will involve some community members. The new program, Kids Hope USA, partners local churches with local public schools and equips the churches to provide one-on-one mentors for at-risk children. Since 1995 the program has reached over 70,000 different elementary-aged students, and just this year alone the program will reach over 21,225 students through a network of 42,450-plus volunteers. Currently the plan is to have a volunteer come in one hour a week to work with one child at Cherry Hill Primary School.

“Cherry Hill is going to be our trial season,” Creamer said. “I really hope we can expand it, but this is going to be our premier program. The adult volunteer will spend one hour with a kid a week and they have some activities they can do together. They can play games, play puzzles, read with them, just mentor them like a personal cheerleader. “

Creamer also expressed his gratitude to the community for its continued generosity as The Well enters its ninth year of business. He said they completely run on donations and grants and, without the many volunteers who spend hours serving, they could not survive.

“I feel very blessed and thankful for the community who continues to support The Well,” Creamer said. “But we do need the community’s help in being selective in what you bring to us as donated items for our Free Store. We are having problems with people donating many unusable items and are unfortunately causing us more issues than help. We want to let everyone know that we love to have usable donations, but we ask that you please do not pile items outside the building as it leaves us to fill the dumpster with damaged or unusable items.”

Due to the increase in the amount of donations over the last few years, The Well has adopted some donation policies to help the community. The posted drop-off times, Monday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., are available so residents who decide to donate can receive assistance from volunteers sorting through their donation to find what items can be used. The Well asks that only gently-used laundered clothing is accepted and Creamer said only 10 bags/boxes will be accepted at one time. Additionally, The Well will not be accepting any household items lager than a microwave or left-over garage sale items.

“We get people that bring us items that we just can’t use unfortunately,” Creamer said. “These items are piled up outside and it is getting expensive to get rid of the items that are not usable. For instance, (revealing a picture taken just a few days prior) we had (mattresses) turn up and left outside. They were bug-infested and unfortunately totally unusable. But because they don’t fit in our dumpster we have to pay to get them hauled away. We would like to have your donated items, but please make sure they are clean, not broken, and very usable.”

For more information about the new Kids Hope USA program, to volunteer for the new or any available programs or for more information about donating, contact The Well at (740) 333-5088.

“We just finished our eighth birthday and I am amazed,” Creamer said. “I was here at the beginning, and you know eight years ago we thought how was this ever going to work, we just didn’t dream it would be possible. And in eight years I can’t believe how we have grown and all of the things we are doing. Taxes, Kids Cafe, Kids Hope, Loads of Love, the Free Store, you name it. I never dreamed it would be possible, but it is thanks to our wonderful and generous community. It is because of our volunteers who come over. And that is the beauty of it. I really believe, thanks to these people, that we are trying to make our community a better place.”

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By Martin Graham

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy