Now in its 7th year, the SIMPLE GESTURES social agency run by Kathy Jo Schweitzer of Port Clinton has embraced an ever-changing program to help volunteers collect useful — but unwanted — items from the community that can be shared, whether it is directly with families in need or social agencies designed to assist families.
Schweitzer is quick to point out that SIMPLE GESTURES is not a drop-off site for large collections of clothing, such as the recent one. Distributing hundreds of clothing items was an opportunity from just one SIMPLE GESTURES contributor’s huge collection of her granddaughters lovely collection of rarely-worn items, a golden opportunity for SIMPLE GESTURES to make a difference.
The SIMPLE GESTURES Program stresses not only purchasing needed, useful, inexpensive items for others, but also the importance of taking time to remove items from a contributor’s home that are no longer needed, but still could be useful to others.
“I continually try to think of different, inexpensive ways for contributors to easily help others,” said Schweitzer. “They also surprise me at times, though, with new ideas to evaluate. By texting photos of single, useful, yet unwanted items, it allows me to analyze and to share them with other organizations if SIMPLE GESTURES cannot use them.
“However, my usual way of communication is through emails with specific need requests for a person or organization, which are delivered to my house within 10 days.”
That allows contributors to choose whether to participate at that time, she said. So far, through 88 distributions, the agency has distributed more than 24,000 items of all kinds throughout Ottawa County to assist many single moms, grandparents, children, families, schools, churches and organizations. Recently, SIMPLE GESTURES has added Kindness Cards to its program, allowing contributors to share names of individuals, who could be surprised with a thinking-of-you message for a celebration or just a “boost.”
“We have already sent 72 cards,” said Schweitzer. “There are many participation choices in our program, but by making a simple difference for others, we also can make a simple difference in ourselves.”
To volunteer to work with SIMPLE GESTURES, email Schweitzer at MSKJS10@gmail.com to learn more.