MUSCATINE, Iowa–For 16 years, the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine has helped area schools and non-profit organizations get free cleaning, office, and toiletry supplies to assist them in their day to day operations. Though this year’s distribution process followed different procedures than in years past, seven different groups still had the opportunity to receive more the $30,000 worth of supplies, almost triple what the Community Foundation could give out last year.
Each year, the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) collects supply donations from various corporations to give to non-profit organizations. Since 2004, CBI Bank & Trust has helped offset the cost of the NAEIR supplies, allowing groups in Muscatine County to access them free of charge.
This year, Crossroads, the Diversity Service Center of Iowa, Franklin Elementary School, the Letts Public Library, Senior Resources, Vision 2020, and the West Liberty Dream Catchers requested supplies in advance.
Once the supplies arrived, Community Foundation staff helped sort them in the United Way of Muscatine Office. Over the years, the Community Foundation has utilized a variety of spaces for the distribution graciously lent to them by various community partners.
They then scheduled pickup times for each group to allow for social distancing. This provided an extra layer of safety for both the supply recipients and Community Foundation staff as fewer people came into close contact with each other than typically happened at past open pickups.
Though the Community Foundation did not have the opportunity to allow groups to choose from extra supplies, as they had in pervious years, careful preplanning allowed them to give out all of the donations to those who could use them. Due to national demand for personal protective equipment, some items, such as disposable gloves, the Community Foundation could not provide those items this year.
Community Foundation Marketing Specialist Natalie Jones shared that the NAEIR supply distribution: “is an amazing process. Seeing them pick up their supplies and hearing what they will do with them gave us joy.” Jones felt especially inspired by what the Letts Public Library plans to do with their supplies. Because of the economic strain COVID-19 has placed on many families, Letts Public Library wanted to help lessen the cost of holiday gift giving this year. To help families who could use it, the Letts Public library will provide free wrapping paper for gifts, removing that often overlooked expense.
Looking back on all the work that went into making this year’s NAEIR supply donation successful and safe, Jones felt satisfied and looks forward to continuing the program in future years. “It was very heartwarming,” she stated. “Even though it is a long process, we were glad we could do it.”