ME Team Member Pays It Forward at Rustic Hope

Posted by Rachel Stephens on January 24, 2022 at 10:32 AM     Agency News
ME Team Member Pays It Forward at Rustic Hope

I used my Marketing Essentials Pay It Forward time this year to volunteer at Rustic Hope in Russia, Ohio. It was an amazing gift to have the time off work to “Pay It Forward.” Not only did this give me the time to volunteer, but it also gave me the push to do it! 

I had been wanting to volunteer at Rustic Hope for a while. As a mother of three myself, it is difficult to find the time. And, if I’m being honest, I was a little nervous to do it too. I was told that there is no sign-up to volunteer ― you just show up to help and you’ll be put to work. That made me nervous because I didn’t want to be in the way. However, I showed up, and it was a great day that filled my heart!

I chose to volunteer at Rustic Hope after hearing Connie McEldowney, who started Rustic Hope, speak and invite people to help out at the organization’s donation center, named The Shed. The Shed supplies single and expectant mothers in need with food, household items and lots more.

So, I showed up one day to volunteer and also brought my own donations. I was greeted with a friendly smile by one of the volunteers. I told him that I was here to volunteer and asked if there was anything I could do to help. 

He directed me to the “sorting table.” One of the ladies gave me a tour of The Shed so that I would know where things go, and I was put to work. I spent the day unpacking donations, hanging baby clothes and stocking shelves. 

All of the volunteers were so friendly and full of love. Many of the volunteers that I spoke with are regulars that spend hours there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The volunteers said the work is never done; there are always more donations to be sorted and put away, which says a lot about the quantity of donations they are given.

About Rustic Hope

Rustic Hope is an organization that is dedicated to support single and expectant mothers in need in our surrounding area. It was fulfilling to volunteer locally, knowing the donation goes directly to someone in need in our area. McEldowney has an amazing story that she has detailed in her book, “Who The Hell I’m Not.” It’s a great read! I was up all night reading it the day I purchased it!

How to Volunteer at Rustic Hope

Go to Rustic Hope at 3666 Simon Road, Russia, OH 45363 on Tuesdays or Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Go to the front desk or the donation area, and the helpers will put you to work. You can help check donations and put them out (hanging clothes and sorting items) or whatever else they might need special help with that day.  

The Rustic Hope Facebook page is also a great page to follow if you are interested in learning more.

Donating to Rustic Hope

Donations can be dropped off anytime. Look for the donation door to the drop-off area.

Rustic Hope Donation Dropoff Door

Items Rustic Hope accepts (new and gently used): Donation Information

  • Children’s clothing, newborn to size 14/16
  • Children’s shoes, socks, underwear
  • Coats (all sizes)
  • Maternity clothes
  • Dishes
  • Pots and pans
  • Towels
  • Bedding
  • Curtains
  • Blankets of all sizes
  • Toys
  • Children’s books
  • Shampoo & hygiene products
  • Purses
  • Laundry products
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Furniture
  • Cars
  • Freezer meat 
  • Canned goods
  • Boxed dinners (hamburger helper, etc.)


Items Rustic Hope does not accept:

  • Large, old TV sets
  • Cars that do not run or need repairs
  • Adult clothing

Items Needed at Rustic Hope

A friend of Rustic Hope recently shared this great message on Facebook of items that The Shed is currently in need of: 

“Personal Hygiene products: soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, etc.

Blankets and Towels - if a towel has a small rip in it it’s ok, trust me you will be a blessing to someone. If you have a blanket that got caught and has a small hole in it, that’s ok you will make someone’s day!

Furniture - There is always a need for furniture. If you think your leather couch that started peeling isn’t good enough, think again, slipcovers and blankets do wonders. Items can be brought directly to Rustic Hope right to the overhead door.”

Things to Consider When Donating Food

I recently came across this list of notes from a food bank volunteer. This list isn’t specifically for or from Rustic Hope, but I think it’s useful to think about (original source unknown): 

  1. Everyone donates Kraft Mac and Cheese in the box. They can rarely use it because it needs milk and butter, which are hard to get from regular food banks. 
  2. Boxed milk is a treasure, as kids need it for cereal, which they also get a lot of. 
  3. Everyone donates pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles.
  4. They cannot eat all the awesome canned veggies and soup unless you put a can opener in too or buy pop tops.
  5. Oil is a luxury but needed for Rice a Roni, which they also get a lot of.
  6. Spices or salt and pepper would be a real Christmas gift.
  7. Teabags and coffee make them feel like you care.
  8. Sugar and flour are treats.
  9. They fawn over fresh produce donated by farmers and grocery stores.
  10. Seeds are cool in spring and summer because growing can be easy for some. 
  11. They rarely get fresh meat.
  12. Tuna and crackers make a good lunch.
  13. Hamburger Helper goes nowhere without ground beef. 
  14. They get lots of peanut butter and jelly but usually not sandwich bread.
  15. Butter or margarine is nice too.
  16. Eggs are a commodity.
  17. Cake mix and frosting make it possible to make a child’s birthday cake. 
  18. Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and is always appreciated. 
  19. Feminine hygiene products are a luxury and women will cry over that. 
  20. Everyone loves Stove Top Stuffing. 

If You Need Help or Know Someone Who Does

The Rustic Hope Facebook page is a great way to reach out with any questions and to contact Connie directly. If you would like to shop at The Shed, you can register during regular open hours. To register, you must have a child under the age of 18 or have custody of a child under the age of 18.