A Day In the Life: Bridging Delivers Hope08/10/2019 by Rebecca Toews
Guest blog by Eli Phillips, Quaker Voluntary Service Fellow
As Bridging’s Quaker Voluntary Service fellow, each day brings a new challenge or opportunity. The days I get to go with the delivery team, though, are my favorite. I do love picking up donations, loading trucks, and completing other projects all around the warehouse but there’s just something extra special about delivering furniture to clients. It really gets at the heart of the mission of why we do what we do. Want to know more about how Bridging furnishes homes with hope? Come along with me and I’ll share a little bit about our day!
“I have been sleeping on the floor for more than a year.”
Often when we are out on deliveries, clients will share with us some of their story, about how they came to know about Bridging. The first Bridging delivery I ever went on was in downtown St. Paul. Our client told me he had been waiting to secure an appointment for more than a year.
“We get to see first hand the expression on people’s faces when they receive the item they’ve been waiting for,” says Henry Bonner, a longtime Bridging delivery driver. “Many times clients will come up to us and tell us how great it’s going to be to finally sleep in a bed after months of sleeping on the floor.”
It helped me realize how important our work is in delivering to clients. I could not imagine finally securing an apartment and having next to nothing in it for a full year. Generally, once a client has been referred for an appointment they are scheduled with the agency, shop with two volunteers, get their basic home essentials and then the following day their items arrive at their new home.
Meeting the Needs of the Community
There are a myriad of reasons why clients might want or need their items delivered. The first barrier to picking up furniture and housewares at the warehouse tends to be a need for transportation. Even if a client does have a vehicle, it may not be large enough for them to get most items from the warehouse. The distance of their home is often another factor. Combined with the size of vehicle, the number of trips it might take could be a deterrent. Even if they could transport their furniture, they may not be able to physically move it into their home. That’s where we come in!
“What I like about being on the delivery team is the individual service we are able to provide,” says Harry Bingham, another delivery team member. “When someone gets furniture from us, we always try to make sure that the items we bring in will fit in their space and they have the support they need [from their referring agency] to set up their home.”
We are typically able to load four orders onto the morning delivery truck, leaving another four for the afternoon truck. We are trained to move items into all kinds of residencies–from apartments on the third floor of a building without an elevator, to a highrise where we can use our tools to efficiently move items onto an elevator. The sheer number of deliveries in a day requires us to work safely yet efficiently.
A Day in the Life…
We deliver across the seven-county metro area, so we have to account for travel time in each segment of deliveries. Most of the time, the first delivery is routed the furthest away from the warehouse. From that stop we work our way back to Roseville. After we eat lunch and refill our water, (a definite necessity!) we head back out to do it all over again in the afternoon.
A Measurable Impact…
In 2018, Bridging delivered to 3402 households. It always feels good to see someone’s residence have furniture added to it, and it’s amazing to me how many residencies we were able to deliver to in just one year.
Did You Know?
- More than 75% of Bridging clients use Bridging’s delivery option.
- Bridging delivery crews deliver furniture to about 20 households each day!
- Bridging has six team members on staff that are devoted to making Bridging deliveries.
Want to learn more about Quaker Voluntary Service?
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Want to hear from a client who received delivery from Bridging? Watch John’s Story