Volunteering at Bridging
At the end of June, we had the pleasure of volunteering at Bridging in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Through the effective reuse of donated items, Bridging improves lives by providing quality furniture and household goods to those transitioning out of homelessness and poverty.
The Bridging Story
In 1987 Fran Heitzman, a former business owner and entrepreneur, was the custodian at Pax Christi Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. On a whim, a woman brought in a piece of furniture and asked Fran if it could be used by the church.Fran said no, but he was sure he could find a home for it. After a few phone calls he found a social service agency that said they would be thrilled to receive the furniture. That was the moment Bridging was born. Fran knew that if he could find a home for that item, then he should be able to find a home for more furniture – this idea could bridge the gap between those who have and those who have not.
Since Fran founded Bridging in 1987, the organization has grown tremendously. To date, Bridging has served over 80,000 households and currently operates out of two locations – Bloomington and Roseville. Bridging serves over 14,000 people in need every year, including 7,000 youth and children. On average, Bridging distributes 14 semi-truck loads of furniture and household goods to 80 households every week. Bridging continues to accept quality, gently used items, and by doing so, diverts 200,000 pounds of inventory from the landfill each week.
The impact Bridging has made in the lives of local people in need, the environment, and its volunteers is monumental. Through support from individuals and businesses throughout the community, Bridging continues to bring hope and stability to thousands of local households in need.
Our Volunteer Experience
We started the afternoon with an introduction to Bridging by none other than the founder himself, Fran Heitzman. Fran, who turned a spry 92 this year, was able to share his heart and the story behind Bridging. It was truly inspiring to hear directly from Fran what got him started and what keeps him coming to work 6 days a week.
After hearing from Fran, we were able too get a tour by Volunteer Coordinator Sara of their facilities. It was great to be able to walk the same path as the families they serve to get a feel for the wonderful experience they have when they come to Bridging.
“When good people get together and do good things, then good things happen!” — Fran Heitzman, Bridging Founder
After our tour, we split into two teams. A handful of us went to help load and unload trucks in the warehouse, while the rest of us stayed behind in the bedding department where we sorted bedding to make into packs.
Overall, we had a great time donating our time to Bridging and were grateful to get to meet and interact with founder, Fran!