Frequently Asked Questions
What is our goal?
The Wish Project’s mission is to help families in need establish long-term residency by providing furniture, diapers, household goods, clothing, and shoes; to provide critical immediate assistance to homeless families. and victims of fire or disaster; and to support the community. We serve with a passionate team of staff, volunteers, community partners, and board of directors.
Our goal is to provide our local people in need with basic furniture, home goods and baby goods, while helping the planet by recycling used goods. Only when people have their basic needs met can they move forward and out of the social services system. By providing basic goods to people in crisis, we help alleviate some stress in the short term while helping to end homelessness in the long term.
How do we help?
Our aim is to help individuals and families move toward re-establishing home life once housing has been secured. In doing this, our donors recycle their no-longer-needed, but in very good condition furnishings, clothing and home goods back into use to people who need them.
We interact directly with state and local shelters and housing programs to effectuate a smooth transition for those moving from shelter or emergency situations into apartments.
Who do we serve?
The Wish Project serves clients throughout Greater Lowell, Lawrence, and the wider Merrimack Valley. Most of our clients have suffered a one-time life-altering event. More than 85% are women and children and elderly. We help homeless families, the elderly, mentally and physically ill, infants, babies, and individuals.
Why is a household goods bank needed?
The Merrimack Valley communities have some of the highest poverty rates in the Commonwealth. According to the National Low Income Coalition Out of Reach 2020, Massachusetts ranks third as the most expensive state for renters. A wage of $35.52 per hour (or 111 hours per week worked at minimum wage) would be required to afford a two bedroom rental.
Even for a two income family, obtaining household goods is a daunting task under these conditions, For an at risk family struggling with a loss of a job, family tragedy or recovering from homelessness it becomes almost impossible.
The Wish Project is a critical resource for furniture, household goods and baby needs serving these families in need. In any given week, there are as many families with children, sleeping on the floor in largely unfurnished apartments in our own community. Without The Wish Project, families have very few affordable options. Household furnishings for a family is a burden that too often families can not carry – so they simply go without. With support from The Wish Project they are able to manage their expenses, reducing the likelihood of becoming homeless again.
How do we distribute goods?
We distribute goods in three ways:
Partnering with area social service agencies: Case workers from our Partner agencies place “wishes” for needed larger goods, such as furniture, household items, baby goods and Project items for their clients using our online Wish Placement system.
Projects: Project goods are bulk items given directly to our Partner agencies to distribute to their clients. These include projects such as: filled backpacks, BITS (Basic Items for Toddler Success) bags, Mother’s Day bags and Christmas gifts.
Emergency Aid: Victims of emergencies such as fire and natural disasters who are left homeless may bring their fire department or Red Cross paperwork to The Wish Project to receive emergency help such as clothing and household items.
If you need help:
If you need diapers/baby wipes, cleaning kids or personal care items, you can come in once a month without an appointment to get those items.
If you need clothing for your family, you will need an appointment for this and can come in four times a year to procure a seasons worth of clothing for your family.
If you need larger items such as furniture, car seats, strollers, household items, etc. you will need a referral from one of our partner agencies.
Who is our team?
The Wish Project first brought on staff in 2007 and now currently employs 9 part time staff and a full time director. Each year an audit is conducted by an independent outside accounting firm. Our board meets monthly. We also have amazing volunteers who help us every day.
Where do we get our funding?
The Wish Project is privately funded. The three largest sources of revenue are donations by individuals, grants and special events.
Do you have any other questions?