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How do I get involved at the Watertown Urban Mission?

Here at the Watertown Urban Mission and The Impossible Dream Thrift Store you have several options in getting involved and making a difference for your community. No matter what you give the Mission, you receive so much more in the impact you have on the lives of people you see every day in your community.

Here’s how you can help:

Volunteer: The work we do at the Watertown Urban Mission would not be possible without the more than 1,000 hours every month which volunteers give us, but still we could always use more help. So if you would like to roll up your sleeves, we are ready to slot you in.

Donate Items to Our Store: Sales at The Impossible Dream Thrift Store support what we do in the Mission, so every item that we are able to sell helps us to help more people every day. Items are received during business hours seven days a week at the loading dock behind the building.

Donate Food and Supplies to Our Food Pantry and Critical Needs Programs
: Every day we serve individuals and families in need who come to us for food, personal hygiene items, linens, diapers, formula and more. We may even be able to use your old car or car parts for our Wheels for Work program.

Make a Financial Contribution: Everything we do is made possible by the support of our member churches and people like you who choose to make a contribution that helps people and improves our society. Your generosity enables us to purchase bulk food at extremely low prices from the Central New York food bank, provides us the latitude to pay for critical assistance items, gives us the flexibility to keep the lights on, and empowers us to keep all of our vital assistance programs running strong.

How do I volunteer?

All you have to do to get involved is give us a call or stop in. When you visit, we’ll have you fill out a basic paper form, which will give us an idea of where to best utilize your interests, skills and talents and then we’ll put you to work helping people. Have an idea? Let us know how to get it off the ground. And thank you for just thinking about volunteering and know that we are eternally grateful to all who give of their time to help.

What jobs might you ask me to do?

We want to put you in your comfort zone because your time is valuable and we want you to get the most of your experience. However, we always need help in our pantry to do intake, help clients shop and stock shelves. In our store, we are always in need of volunteers like you who may have a passion for sorting through the treasures we receive and get them up on the shelves of our store.

Volunteers can also be slotted in to help with maintenance, answer phones and take messages, sort and fold mailings, distribute Food $en$e or help with any of our special projects—including our school supplies, coat and toy distributions.

How do I donate to The Impossible Dream Thrift Store?

We accept donations during store hours (M-F 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.) at the concrete loading dock behind the Mission and the Store at 247 Factory St.

Do you pick up items?

Absolutely. We will gladly schedule a pick up for your furniture donations (and other items you may want to send along with it). Our truck has scheduled routes throughout the county as well, so if you can’t transport your items, just give us a call at 782-0090 and we’ll do all that we can to make sure your items find a new home and support what we do here at the Watertown Urban Mission.

What do you take at the thrift store?

We’ll take clothes, furniture, books, bookcases, electronics, small kitchen appliances, housewares, linens, toys, sporting goods, movies, and more, so long as the items are in working condition.

Is there anything you don’t take?

We unfortunately cannot take large appliances like stoves and refrigerators. Also because of government regulations, cribs and car seats are another item we regretfully cannot take.

Other than that, we just kindly request that donations not include broken electrical appliances, outdated computers, broken or incomplete toys and games, cracked or broken dishes and glasses, and soiled or torn clothing. Old, gently worn, even outdated—or vintage—items can be sold easily, but when we receive items that are not sellable because they are damaged when they come to us, it costs us money to throw them away, so thank you for your consideration.

If you can bring your donation in a clear plastic bag or open containers, it makes life easier for our sorters.

How do I donate to the Food Pantry?

Well that’s easy. You can stop in any time during business hours (M-F 9 a.m.-5 p.m. or 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. in July & August) and we’ll be glad to accept your donations. It’s that simple. If you would, we’d love to get your contact information for our records, but that should only take a moment or two to finish. We’re extremely grateful for every donation because your generosity helps us to serve between 500 and 700 households each month.

You might also be able to just drop off nonperishable foods at your church. Check with your church offices.

What can I donate to the Food Pantry?

We accept just about everything—even fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden or farm. Of course, canned vegetables, fruits and beans, canned soup, stew and chili, canned meats and tuna, juice, jam, jelly and peanut butter, just to name a few. We also accept personal items such as deodorant, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and cleaning supplies.

Helpful tip: Expiration dates do not mean food has gone bad. Sometimes the food can be eaten well after it is expired for sale, but the standards vary. You can call us if you have any questions and save yourself a trip so that your generosity does not end up being a higher trash bill for us.

How can I make a financial contribution to the Watertown Urban Mission?

Every dollar counts and with even the smallest donations you give people food, clothing, shelter, dignity, Christian fellowship, and more. The Watertown Urban Mission is the most complete and effective means for you to stand with your neighbors to help your neighbors and make positive change in your community.

To make a contribution, you can stop by any time or mail a check to the Watertown Urban Mission at 247 Factory Street, Watertown, NY 13601. If you have questions about making a financial donation or setting up a regular contribution, contact Drew or Erika at 782-8440.

To give you some idea of what we can do with your financial contributions, $25 buys formula for a mother whose WIC check didn’t cover the entire month, $50 pays for two to three essential prescriptions, $100 ensures a family of four has clothing, food and basic items they need, $250 helps to provide 1,000 balanced meals through our food pantry.

Are my donations tax deductable?

Yes, they are. Donations of all kinds, be it money or items, are tax deductable because the Watertown Urban Mission is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3. If it’s a financial contribution, we’ll send you a thank you letter with the information you need. If it’s a donation to the store and you require it, please ask one of our employees to help you fill out a handy form.

We are eternally grateful to all who give of themselves to help us help our neighbors in need.

Erika F. Flint, Executive Director

Drew Mangione, Development Director
© Copyright 2010 Watertown Urban Mission 247 Factory Street Watertown, NY 13601
 Mission Phone: (315) 782-8440 Fax: (315) 782-8441Thrift Store Phone: (315) 782-0090
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