Common Goods’ Top 10 Most Appreciated Donations

Telescope at Common GoodsAt Common Goods, we literally receive thousands of donations every year–it’s the backbone of our business, and we truly wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the generosity of our faithful donors!

The following is a list I’ve compiled of our “Top Ten” most appreciated donations. These items are our best sellers, are the most sought after by shoppers, and just fit the mission and “vibe” of Common Goods in general. Take a look and see if you’ve ever donated–or purchased–any of the items on the list!


10. Clothing for the whole family

9. Shoes and winter boots for the whole family

8. Games and Puzzles – all pieces included

7. Books – current titles, for the whole family (please no text books, encyclopedias or Readers Digest)

6. Sets of dishes and glassware (3 or more is considered a set)

5. Handbags, purses, luggage

4. Jewelry

3. Stylish Home Decor

2. Furniture – demand is high for home furniture that is clean and in good condition.  Pick up available for large pieces.

1. The unique is always welcome!


Hopefully something on that list inspired you to come in and shop, or to drop off a year-end donation! Common Goods has just started its fourth year of operation, and we are so grateful to the hundreds of generous donors and eager shoppers who have made Common Goods the great store it is today!

If anything on this list inspired you to donate, Common Goods accepts donations Monday – Saturday from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm. Remember that all items donated to Common Goods need to be in clean, saleable condition– with all parts and pieces included. Calling beforehand is recommended, especially if you have a lot to donate. If you have large items, you will need to call and schedule an appointment. When considering whether something is a good fit for our store, you can take a look at our donation guidelines here, and we encourage you to spend some time shopping first at Common Goods if you’ve never been there, to get a good idea about the kinds of items we are able to sell.

Common Goods was created to financially support the work of Bridges of Hope, a faith-based human services nonprofit that has been serving children and families in need since 2002.


Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving Prayer

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;

When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

-Samuel F. Pugh

I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the 41 families & individuals, 10 businesses, 3 service clubs & 11 churches who shopped, packed up & delivered meals to ensure that 278 households do not have to go without a Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. Thank you!

I was able to team up with a friend and a co-worker to sponsor two families and it was a humbling and fulfilling experience. At the first home I delivered to, the mother met me at the door with a BIG smile on her face and a thank you card in hand. She was so grateful for the meal. The next day, I went with a co-worker and dropped off another meal. An adorable preschooler answered the door and her mother followed her stating, “Thank you so much, Kassie and Jana. This turkey is so big. This is so nice. We are going to share with the neighbors” Wow! It certainly isn’t about me or Kassie, but I was so touched that she remembered our names from the call we made to set up a delivery time. I felt as blessed by her gratitude as she felt receiving the meal.
As we wrap up our work and other responsibilities today and prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, I hope we all pause to count our many blessings and share those blessings with others when possible.
YOU are a blessing to Bridges of Hope. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Supporters Gave to the Max – Campaign Surpasses $24K

2012 $60,000 Fall Fundraising Campaign-$24KWe are so excited to announce that Bridges of Hope’s $60,000 Fall Fundraising Campaign passed the $24,000 mark yesterday during Give to the Max Day, a one-day giving event across Minnesota. Bridges of Hope ranked 261st overall among thousands of nonprofits for most dollars raised during the 24-hour giving event.

Check out this video update from our Executive Director, Jana Shogren:

Supporters and local partners also turned out at our Open House, and several capitalized on the opportunity to make their online gift in-person at an onsite giving terminal that had been set up for the occasion.

Give to the Max Day Live Giving Terminal

We continue to express our sincere, humble thanks to all who have already supported Bridges this year. Your support is changing lives here in the Lakes Area, one family at a time. Bridges of Hope will serve over 2,500 households this year. In order to do that, we need to close our year-end funding gap–and we know that with your support, it is possible.

Something to be Thankful For

Thanksgiving MealBridges of Hope has provided the community with a Thanksgiving Basket Program since 2009. Although it can be a very busy, stressful time of year, it is also one of the most fun and rewarding programs that I am a part of at the organization. (And we do a lot of fun, rewarding things here!)

It’s fun to be able to do something out of the ordinary from my more typical daily tasks, and it’s rewarding to be able to see community members from area churches, businesses, service clubs, and individual families come together to help families who would likely not be able to afford a Thanksgiving meal otherwise. Every year the program has grown, and this year we are expecting to serve approximately 275 families! We rely on the amazing generosity of our sponsors to make this a reality.

Another reason this is such a rewarding program is due to the fact that it is one of the best opportunities for Bridges of Hope to offer a more “hands on” experience for those of our partners and supporters out there who are looking for that kind of experience. This program allows sponsors the opportunity to shop for the food themselves and personally deliver the basket to the family.

We realize this is not the kind of experience that everyone is looking for, and so we are happy to offer other kinds of ways to interface with Bridges; including volunteering, shopping and donating at Common Goods; serving as a mentor in our new Side by Side program; and financially supporting our work with families. But for those of you considering sponsorship this Thanksgiving, I would like to share with you what a past sponsor (who is sponsoring again this year) shared with me recently. She was talking at her church group about the program and encouraging others to get involved, and she shared her experience delivering the baskets last year: “we were able to have conversations with the families and tell them about who we were and invited them to come to our Thanksgiving Eve service at church.” For this sponsor, the unique, personal experience was what made it a great.

Of course, we also realize that not every sponsor can afford the time to personally deliver their basket, and so Bridges of Hope offers the option for sponsors to instead shop and deliver the food to our office, so that another volunteer can deliver the basket to the family. However, we find that most sponsors choose to deliver the baskets themselves! If you would like more information on the program and how to become a sponsor, please click here.

While my post so far has been on the sponsors, the true focus of this program is the families receiving the baskets. The families are the reason we run the program, and serving them in the best way possible is how we make decisions on how the program should be run. Since 2009, you have helped provide over 600 meals to families for Thanksgiving–and we have received numerous thank-you calls and notes from those families, expressing just how thankful they are–and isn’t that exactly what Thanksgiving is all about?

I am so thankful for all of the families we are able to serve because of our amazing sponsors that make this program possible! Thank you!

Sponsors are still needed for this year’s program. To sponsor a family for Thanksgiving this year, visit our website for details.

Campaign Reaches $12,000 Mark!

You might have noticed that we have fall fundraising goal: to raise $60,000 to support our work with Lakes Area families like Steven and Laura’s. You helped us reach this same goal last year and we pray that you’ll help again this year. Just 19 days into this year’s campaign, this generous community has already donated over $12,000!

This year has brought many amazing opportunities to Bridges of Hope, and we’ve faced a few challenges, too. One of our major challenges is the extremely competitive nature of the “Grant Funding World.” Many of our favorite foundations report receiving requests for 3-4 times the dollar amount they have available to give during a funding cycle. During a time when nonprofits are being asked to do more than ever, that math does not add up for local families who are looking to organizations like Bridges of Hope to help during a crisis.

We have a couple of staff members who devote part of their time to writing grants for the organization all year round, and they are pretty good at it. In fact, our “success rate” in 2011 was 59% and the dollar amount funded for these approved grants was 50%. In 2012, our grant writing success rate is 63% (not bad, right?), but the kicker is that only about 30% of the dollar amount we requested has been granted. This has played a large role in our $60,000 year-end funding gap.

Now, we certainly do not intend to sound ungrateful–because we are SO appreciative of our Foundation partners! We simply want to convey to you the extreme importance of your personal gift to Bridges of Hope this year. We have never had a waiting list at Bridges of Hope, and I do not want this to be the first year our clients have to wait for the guidance and support that could change their lives.

Jack, Dylan and ChloeCan you make a gift of $150 to support our services with one family? Every gift matters, whatever the size, and you can be sure we are putting your gift to good use. If you’re curious about what your gift can do, you can read some of our Moment of Hope stories here.

Thank you for helping us keep up with the demand for services during this very busy fall and holiday season. This generous community has already helped our campaign raise over $12,000! Can YOU help us get to the halfway mark by Thanksgiving? Your gift is 100% tax-deductible.

Thank you for helping us build Bridges!