Update from the Executive Director

Dear First Stop family,

At First Stop, we’ve been extremely busy the last few weeks. We’ve been averaging 60 people for breakfast each day and we’re serving lunch now on most days, as well. Our overall client population is about 250 and we have over 100 on our waiting list! I’ve told everyone who listen that we need more money so that we can hire more case managers to meet the growing demand for our services.

Our case managers help folks with an amazing array of needs like getting identification, obtaining necessary medication, finding employment, and, of course, locating affordable housing. They are experts at helping people by crafting individualized treatment plans and helping each client every step of the way to achieve success.

We now have a regular AA group that meets at First Stop every Friday at 4pm. During the next several months, we will be offering group sessions and classes on array of life-skills topics to help our clients achieve greater independence and self-reliance.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve continued to paint the interior of the facility and it’s looking a lot brighter and cleaner. First Stop gives a big “Thank you!” to Elizabeth Dawson for her artistic talent in designing a new bulletin board for the front entrance.

On a sad note, our washing machine gave out, but we were able to procure another without much trouble. We are going to need some specific cookware and supplies for our kitchen due to our increased volume, so please contact us if you’re interested in donating. A special thanks to Jim Johnson for donating a chest freezer for our kitchen.

Client volunteers have been doing great work like weeding our flower beds, cutting down limbs, organizing our sheds, and keeping our facility clean.

We’ve broken ground on our green house project and we’re hoping to raise money for it through crowdfunding. Also, we’ve been hard at work on a fundraising video and planning for our “Eradic8 Homelessness” event on September 28th at the Huntsville Roundhouse from 1pm-6pm. General admission will be $5 and there will be food, refreshments, and entertainment. We’re asking our partner organizations to sponsor booths for $25 so that the community can learn about the valuable services they provide. We hope to see you there.

Also, we made headlines this last week with a great article on homelessness that was in the Huntsville Times and al.com. You can link to it here: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/08/homeless_in_huntsville_how_one.html

Our friend from Crisis Services, 2-1-1 Program Manager Jessica Rasche, gave a presentation last Wednesday to our staff on locating affordable housing in the community. We appreciate Ms. Rasche and our ongoing partnership with Crisis Services.

We were also pleased to work with Sherry Harkless from the North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless who has helped us with specialized computer training so that we may provide better service to our clients.

Later this week, I’ll be meeting with city officials to determine how Huntsville can better meet the needs of our homeless population. Soon, I’ll be reaching out to our business community and area leaders to ask them for their support and donations.

It’s more important than ever before that you make a recurring monthly financial donation to First Stop. Whether it’s $100/month or $20/month, recurring donations allow us to plan ahead and expand our capacity for service. Please take the time to donate on our website: www.firststop.org and give generously. Your contribution truly makes a positive difference and you can help change lives for the better.

Please donate today and visit our facility so that you see your money being put to good use. We appreciate all you help and support.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the newsletter, Clete. Very important to get the story out there

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