The Voices of Triumph Gospel Community Choir (Voices), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization was established in August 1999. A once member of the Voices saw a fire on the riverside where the homeless lived. She was concerned about the welfare of the person living under that tarp that had caught fire. She spoke to her friend who was the President of the Voices and asked what can we do? We decided that we would put the homeless in a vacant house owned by the president of the Voice’s daughter.
Much leg work took place. Talks with the Mayor, Code enforcement, housing inspectors, and fire chief determined that housing the homeless was too expensive. The requirements were demanding time and commitment which could not be handled by one person (one worked and the other was retired).
After much research as to how we could help fight homelessness in the community, we discovered, local human services agencies, located housing, helped with upfront utility cost, security deposits and furniture vouchers. No one provided the essential items that were needed to make a house a home. It was at this point we would provide for individuals and families who were once homeless and transitioning from homelessness into a dwelling.
Just imagine walking into an empty house/apartment; there is a stove, no pots to cook food with, no dishes to eat out of, no silverware to eat with. You walk into the bedroom there is the bed; no bed linen, blanket or pillows. You can’t bathe because there is no soap for your body or shampoo for your hair.
The items provided by Essentially Yours, serves that very purpose. The items provided are (Linen) Sheets, blankets, pillows, bath and dish towels, wash clothes, pot holders, and shower liners. We provide items for the Kitchen; Pots, pans, dishes, glasses, silverware, utensils, bake ware, small appliances if available. We provide Personal care items; soap deodorant, lotion, shampoo, Conditioner, tooth paste, tooth brushes, and razors. We provide household items; mop, broom, dish detergent, laundry detergent, bleach, and house hold cleansers. Our goal is to provide those items than cannot be purchased with food stamps (SNAP).
Once it was decided that this service was really needed in the community we set out to make it a reality. A collaboration was formed with The Salvation Army, United Way Alliance of the Mid- Ohio Valley, and West brook Health Services. The community supported initiative was named Essentially Yours.
Essentially Yours opened May 4, 2010. The Salvation Army provided office and warehouse space for us in-kind. The community donated slightly used items, the Voices counted inventory and stocked shelves, funds were donated from churches and charities.
December, 2010 we became incorporated. Our name was changed to Voices of the Streets, Inc. Essentially Yours. We are a 501 c (3) non-profit non- salaried tax exempt ministry operated by volunteer. As of December 2013, we served 288 individuals.
Our services has expanded from providing for the once homeless, to homeless veterans, battered and abused individuals, emancipated teens, mentally challenged individuals, victims of fires and floods, and individuals transitioning from the Department of Correction.
There are four must-have requirements for service:
- Current Lease ( dated no more than two month)
- Photo Identification (Government Issued)
- Social Security Card (for each member living in the household)
Our current location is 1341 Juliana St. (at the First Presbyterian Church) Parkersburg WV 26101. We are only open Tuesday and Wednesday 10:00-2:30. We are closed from 12:00 -1:00 for lunch. Our office number is 304 428-4304
We are partially funded by, United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Sisters of Saint Joseph, Ross Foundation, and The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.
Please mail all monetary donations to Essentially Yours P.O. Box 1175 Parkersburg WV 26102. All other donations can be dropped out during our hours of operation.
If additional information is needed contact:
Chris Penn, Executive Director 304-488-1006.
View our Web page: www. Essentially-yours.org
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