A Fort Smith nonprofit organization has found the support it needed to be able to stave off relocation.
Earthbound Angels Inc. has been able to stay at 7423 U.S. 271 South thanks to an influx of financial support. According to an article published in the Times Record Jan. 28, the organization planned to leave its current location, and move into a storage unit at the same address to be accessible on an emergency basis. At the time, Earthbound Angels Founder Shelly Pollock said the organization would begin transitioning into the storage unit in March so that it would be out of the current location by April 1.
Earthbound Angels supplies everything from household items such as linens, dishes and bedding to baby items, furniture and clothing. In addition, as the only diaper bank in the area, the organization has served more than 2,000 clients on an emergency and reoccurring basis. If someone has a need, that person can contact the organization via phone, email or its Facebook page or website and explain what his or her need is. Earthbound Angels will make an appointment with that person, who can come to the organization’s address and receive an item that addresses that need if the organization has it.
Pollock said Wednesday that Earthbound Angels is more of a spiritual organization than a religious one. However, God speaks to Pollock often, and on March 9, He told her to stay at the current location and it would work out. A post made that same day on the Earthbound Angels Facebook page states the following:
"Earthbound Angels cannot bring ourselves to leave our location and place ourselves into a storage unit even temporarily at this time," the post states. "With much prayer and a leap of faith we're going to remain in our current location at 7423 US Hwy 271S in Fort Smith and pray every single day for a solution for our organization."
On April 4, Pollock said Earthbound Angels got new supporters in Denny Altes and his wife, Susan, who donated $1,000 to the organization. Pollock was introduced to Denny Altes by Guyanne Glidewell, pending director of community sponsorship for Earthbound Angels, when Pollock was looking for a building.
"I wanted the building that he had for rent down the street (on U.S. 271), but a lot of work would have had to been done on it, but it was free, but it was going to only be temporary, and, you know, I'm pretty aggressive," Pollock said. "I want a permanent place if I'm going to move all this, and so we just couldn't come to an agreement on how much time I could have it ... and so I guess my consolation prize was the nice, fat thousand dollar check."
Denny and Susan Altes also began volunteering for Earthbound Angels on occasion.
"I think they need more volunteers for this organization," Susan Altes said. "This is one of the best-kept secrets in the River Valley."
Pollock said Tammy Summers, an Earthbound Angels board member, has financially helped the organization as well through her employer, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Summers can turn in her volunteer hours to PricewaterhouseCoopers, which then sends a check to the charity of her choice quarterly.
In addition to all of this, Earthbound Angels came up with a means to raise funds in the form of a sponsorship T-shirt drive, Pollock said. It has asked its members and their friends to reach out to others, and if they would like to have their name, their business name or someone else's name in their honor or memory put on the back of its sponsorship T-shirt, they can do so for a $25 or $50 monthly donation.
"So we're going to continue to do that until we meet the amount of money we need to cover the rent, and so we're going to do that as an ongoing thing to hopefully cover the rent, as well as, ... our biggest expense, which is diapers and wipes," Pollock said.
Pollock said Earthbound Angels is spending slightly more time fundraising, which it has not had the ability to do in the past. Aside from getting enough sponsors for the T-shirts, another project for the organization is looking for a "diapermobile."
"Because a lot of clients can't get to us, so we're going to go to them, like park at ... Sixth and H, and announce it through a PSA that Earthbound Angels will be there from 11 to noon to give out diapers, and when we run out of diapers, we'll make appointments for them because, obviously, we can't hold that many diapers," Pollock said. "So we're looking for, like, an old ice cream truck that we can wrap, and then also we could take that same truck to events to give information out and to get diaper drives scheduled."