Category Archives: Blog

FH Heat Relief

2024 could outrank 2023 as the hottest year since recording temperatures began. We have already had two lengthy heat waves in Delaware this summer, one falling on a holiday weekend, and more are predicted. Since summer temperatures continue to rise, Friendship House has implemented Summer Seasonal Programming to help vulnerable Delawareans.

FH’s Code Orange is implemented when temperatures and humidity reach dangerous levels for our street-level community or elderly individuals without access to air conditioning. The criteria for Code Orange activation is a heat index of 100 degrees or more. When FH calls a Code Orange, cooling stations are activated throughout Wilmington and Newark.

In addition to our Empowerment Center’s normal weekday hours, FH is also open at partnering faith communities on Saturdays in Newark and Wilmington in July and August from 1 pm to 5 pm to provide additional heat relief during the hottest Delaware months. During this time, we offer a cool space to rest, water, snacks, and access to restrooms. Volunteers make this seasonal programming possible, we’re so grateful for the community support to be able to offer these life-saving services.

If you’re interested in getting involved or donating needed items, please reach out to volunteer@friendshiphousede.org.

2024 Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

We are so excited to share we raised over $100,000 from the 2024 Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community! Thank you to those who made this possible. Your donations go directly to support Delawareans finding a way home through our life-saving, life-changing programs.

Thank you Highmark for putting together such a wonderful event. Hundreds joined us on June 8 for the in-person 5k walk starting at the Tubman Garrett Park on the Riverfront. Many sent in pictures from their virtual walks around the world! (That’s right, we even had some walk for us while in Europe!) It was a wonderful day!

We are proud to announce, for the fifth year in a row, FH was the top fundraising organization among 145 nonprofit organizations participating in the Highmark Walk across 6 cities! Thank you to all our supporters, including our corporate sponsors featured below, who made this possible.

We are looking forward to next year which will mark FH’s tenth Highmark Walk. We hope we can count on your support again next year as we celebrate this milestone!

School Uniform Program

Did you know several Delaware public and charter schools have a dress code which requires students to wear a polo-style shirt and khaki-type bottoms? Some schools even require a different color shirt based on the student’s grade, making it necessary for students to have a different color shirt each year. For some Delaware families, buying items that comply with the school dress code can be a financial burden, and students may face disciplinary action when they arrive out of uniform.

In 2020, Friendship House launched a School Uniform Program through our Clothing Bank to help families with this challenge. A local public school was getting ready to resume in-person classes after the COVID shutdown, and many of their parents were struggling to afford the required items for their kids to go back to school. When they turned to us for help, we stepped up by providing 400 uniform items. Since then, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, with your loving support, we distributed 10,362 uniforms to 18 schools, benefiting 5,000 Delaware students! This program has been a great success thanks to the amazing support from our community. We’ve doubled our warehouse space so we can run the program even more effectively and efficiently. We hope you’ll continue to support us on this important journey by helping us fill our shelves. Your kindness makes a huge difference!

Here’s what we need:

  • Solid color polos (without logos) in youth sizes 5 – 20, and adult sizes S – XL
  • Youth pants (khaki or navy color) in sizes 5 – 20
  • Men’s pants (khaki or navy color) in sizes 28 – 40
  • Women’s pants (khaki or navy color) in sizes 0 – 20
  • Monetary donation ($25 typically buys one uniform set)

We make it easy to purchase uniforms through our registries! Click and purchase, and the items will be shipped directly to us:

Interested in volunteering? We could use your help to:

  • Wash and iron used uniforms
  • Bag, tag, and box uniforms
  • Organize uniform donation drives

We know this amazing program has a huge impact. Our school partners agree too!

“On behalf of the entire A.I. Middle School community, I am writing to express our deepest gratitude for the recent donation of uniforms from Friendship House… With access to quality uniforms, all students, regardless of their economic backgrounds, now have the opportunity to attend school feeling included and equal. Many students who previously faced challenges acquiring suitable uniforms are now able to attend school with pride. Your generosity has had a profound and lasting impact on the lives of our students, and we want to convey our heartfelt appreciation.”

– Katy Richardson, School Nurse, A.I. duPont Middle School

Mellisa’s Story

I’m Mellisa, and I am a graduate of the Clothing Bank CEO Program.

I’ll start this story by saying I was arrested in 2002 when I was 29 years old. I went to prison for 20 years and 5 months, and then I was transferred to the Work Release facility (Hazel D Plant) in 2022. I spent 3 1/2 months there and in that time I got to work at Friendship House Clothing Bank. I was so standoffish at first, questioning why the people at the Clothing Bank were so nice to me and cared about me. I didn’t believe they truly wanted to help me reenter back into society, and I was worried because things had changed so much in my 20 years in prison. I had a lot of fears too – like being recognized, being safe, and learning how to make the changes in myself. I knew I would need to deal with how much people and society had changed.  The Clothing Bank provided a safe place, they never judged me, and they slowly taught me a lot of the things I hadn’t learned. I remember when they told me I had to take baby steps before I could walk – that was so true. I really had to pump my brakes!

I stayed at the Clothing Bank after I was released, then a few months later I left for a job in a restaurant. I thought I was fine and I could do everything on my own. It didn’t turn out how I thought it would be. Ms. Cheryl stayed in touch after I left the Clothing Bank, and she was able to give me support and advice and help me get through the problems I encountered, including the restaurant closing and being transferred to a different one. The Clothing Bank became my safe place and still, to this day, remains to be. The people there are so supportive and genuinely strive to help me accomplish my goals and achievements. Now, with hard work and the support of my friends at the Clothing Bank, I have a good job, a place of my own, and am working on an apprenticeship in culinary arts. I was selected to attend the National Restaurant Association’s Hospitality Pathways Conference in Washington DC where I’ll participate in interactive sessions led by national experts – I’m so excited. I hope to get my driver’s license and a car soon, and I’m also finishing up my Associate’s Degree in Human Services.  I have big dreams and am so proud of all I’ve accomplished so far. Thank you Friendship House for all you have done for me.

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