A Day in the Life: Changing lives, one delivery at a time…

02/21/2020 by Rebecca Toews
Guest blog by Brad Richter, Bridging Delivery Team

I just celebrated my first year as a warehouse associate with Bridging; what many may not know, is that I was a client of Bridging on December 26, 2018.

One year ago, as I waiting to place things into my own apartment (after six years, without anything!) I checked things off my shopping list as they were placed into my apartment. From the flatware, to the towels to the coffee pot to the furniture….”this is now mine!” I thought. “and I can hold my head high and share with family and friends!”

We know what we do daily at Bridging is special. Every day we see the changes that furniture and household items can make in a person’s life. So what does a day in the life of a Warehouse Associate look like from a client perspective? What do I experience when I am out in the community?

In just the past week, I have been able to touch lives, and in turn, touch my own– and I know that I am doing the right things for my life.

On a recently delivery, I brought a box-spring to a client, who is a veteran. She had been sleeping on the floor since November, and due to her trauma, a defective box spring made her have many sleepless nights. I know what it is like to not rest well.

I walked into her apartment with her new box-spring and she hugged me with a welcome embrace and indicated that she was glad to see me and would now be able to sleep well as I unpacked here box-spring and removed the defective one.

“Brad, I am blessed that you and BRIDGING care about me,” she said. She wished me well as I walked away. I know that she will now rest easily. What a gift!

Time for a pick-up

I met two sisters who were in the process of packing their parents’ house. Their mother had passed away a couple of years ago and now they were moving their father to assisted living. Their father was concerned about his possessions and what was going to happen to their family home and personal items.

I understand this feeling. Last year, I had to do the same thing with my fathers’ things. Respect and dignity is important. It is so meaningful to be able to let the donor know that, by their contributions, many families will find hope for their futures.

As the garage door opened, I saw boxes of memories and items that had accumulated over 40 years of life. As I loaded the items, one of the sisters pulled me aside and asked me to step into the house to take a look. To my pleasant surprise, they were looking for a place to donate rooms of furniture. As I walked through the house, I discussed the possibilities. By the time I left, they had decided to arrange a pick-up with BRIDGING for me to return and pick up “rooms” of furniture. I also learned that one of the sisters had volunteered time with Medtronic doing a dresser build. It is so special to be able to see the many ways that people can connect with Bridging.

Honesty and authenticity is critical as I work with donors. I am often met with questions about Bridging and how we do what we do. Sharing my own story and explaining how we handle their donations with care is important to many people. I know that multiple households will benefit by their generosity, my own household certainly did.

We are able to give items to many people from many different backgrounds. Cart by cart, I load items and transport them into mostly bare apartments. As I walk into some of these homes, I love being greeted by a hug, and sometimes tears of joy. I enjoy the days where I am able to take the time to listen to people’s stories.

“I am now in some place that is safe, and comfortable,” says Lorna, who talked to me as I unloaded her items under the watchful eye of her service dog. One of the items I delivered was for her service dog and was to be placed next to her bed. It is important to have her companion close at all times. Now able to sleep at her bedside, she expressed her gratitude for herself and her dog.

As I was leaving, she called me back to her. She gave me a hug and thanked me as she told me she knew I was an angel sent to do good things.

Group volunteers

As they walk into the warehouse, some are glossy-eyed as they wait to find out what is to transpire. I have just introduced myself to twelve willing corporate volunteers. I look around me, wondering who will help pull beds, who will be my partner in packing the trucks and who will be meticulous to detail and pull the right orders and pack the right items for clients. I tell them that what they are doing is important. This next step to the client’s shopping experience is vital to their personal journey. I know this firsthand because I relay to them the details of my own shopping experience, wondering if this was all really happening!

After their three-hour shift we gather to reflect on their experience. I share that I was blessed to receive Bridging services—and that what they did today really did change lives. I know I am doing the right things as a volunteer raises their hand and asks if they can volunteer as an individual. Blessed we are to receive your time and talent!

Every day I stop and reflect on my own life; where I was, where I am and where I am going. I know that my original life plan did not work—but now I am being led by something greater than myself. I am learning patience as I walk my journey and know that each day I touch lives, but more importantly, my life is touched by clients, donors, volunteers and co-workers.

When good people get together to do good things, then good things happen!

Read Brad’s Story

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