Charitable ministry needs financial help
Financial contributions may be made to Acts of Kindness by mailing to or dropping them off at 1212 S. Oakhill Ave., Janesville, WI 53546, between 1 and 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
For more information, call founder Shelly Danks at (608) 728-0841.
JANESVILLE When clients arrive for help at the YWCA with nothing but the clothes on their backs, it's too costly for the organization to buy them clothes.
Even thrift shops are too expensive.
They are referred to Acts of Kindness, a charitable ministry founded in 2008 by Shelly Danks.
"We can send a client there, and they can get the item for free," said Nadia Freie, office manager at YWCA Rock County.
"It's really a win-win because it doesn't affect our funds or their pocket," she said.
That could change, however, because Acts of Kindness has been struggling financially since January. Danks said she might have to get another job to support herself, which could mean fewer hours for Acts of Kindness.
"It's possible some of the needs of the public may not be met," she said.
"That's why I founded this, which has become a vital part of this community. We're intertwined with many organizations," she said
Acts of Kindness works with the YWCA, ECHO and the Salvation Army.
Danks fears the financial difficulty could become a crisis for Acts of Kindness.
"June was the toughest month I've ever had, but all the bills got paid, and I also got paid. July is looking tight, as well," she said.
"I could use some financial support—$700 to $1,000 a month would be of help. But my main concern is that A-OK can continue and grow without being hindered by finances," Danks said.
The charity's only funding source is public donations. Its 1,225-square-foot building and the bread truck used to pick up and deliver donations were donated.
Danks is the charity's only paid staff member. She started paying herself $700 a month about a year ago after getting divorced.
Gasoline for the truck and a lawnmower, insurance and monthly utilities are they charity's only other expenses.
Donations of clothing, bedding, household items, furniture, appliances, toiletries, baby items and toys continue to keep pace with need, but financial contributions have dropped off.
"I've never put an emphasis on the financial, so I'm not sure. I think people assume I get funding from others sources, but I don't. It's all funding from the community," she said.
Danks said many people don't realize most donations of clothing, bedding and furniture to the YWCA and ECHO end up at Acts of Kindness, where Danks and volunteers sort and distribute them.
"Without A-OK, they would have to take their donations somewhere else, and most people want their donations to come here because I don't charge. I never will. Everything is free," she said.
ECHO Executive Director Karen Lisser knows the value of the service Danks provides.
"For the people trying to stretch their budget," she said, "it really helps to get something free."