Our founder spent several years visting agencies before starting the project. She went out and asked caseworkers what they needed for clients. She put these items into a database and called it the "Wish List". After several tries to find the right mechanism for how to most easily and efficiently get goods to the clients, the Wish List grew into the Wish Project with a large warehouse space. Space was one thing that was a universal limiting factor.
With space you can run a furniture depot, you can accept large off-season bulk donations and negotiate the best prices for buying goods in large quantities. Plus a large space means more room for volunteers to help process goods to help the needy.
Many needs are seasonal, city-wide and predictable (like backpacks in September and coats during the winter). So we run monthly service projects to funnel large quantities of goods to many agencies - right when they need them.
We coordinate the delivery of goods to clients through the case workers that know them best and "only what they need, when they need it." We are dedicated to the belief that individual clients in need are best served when served by the system. So we work along side all the agencies to provide goods in the most efficient way possible for the benefit of all; including government, faith-based, and private non-profit organizations. Most agencies are from the Greater Lowell and Lawrence area although we help out to Newburyport and up to Southern NH. The clients served include families, battered women, children, teens and single adults in shelter, children with AIDs, and new immigrants from more than 14 countries.
Most wishes are for furniture, home and baby goods. It is the volume of need that is staggering. From January to December of 2006 we have helped more than 17,000 clients get more than $560,000 worth of basic home and baby goods (at yard sale price estimates). More than 80% of clients are women and children