Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In my blog I often write about the opposition that we encounter with our recovery program. We fight local governments over zoning, licensing, and fire safety. While all of these issues are real, they are not the whole picture.

One of the aspects of this operation that I seldom mention is the support from the larger community. We have one employee whose mission is to acquire donations. Our needs cover a wide range. We use a lot of building materials to repair our facilities. Among the items our donation coordinator acquires are roofing material, sheet rock, linoleum and tile, and paint. It is fairly easy to obtain these because suppliers and builders often find themselves with leftover material from completed jobs. They are more than happy to contribute to a worthy cause. Our experience has been that it is much easier to obtain material donations than it is to obtain cash donations.

We have been dealing with some donors for so long that we don't even have to call them. When they have something they think that we can use they simply call us. Often, they don't even care if we use it to repair facilities or if we want to sell it. They just want to get the material off of their premises and to receive the collateral benefit of a tax deduction.

We also receive many donations in another area. A wonderful group of medical people who give us a great deal of help are dentists. We have more than 40 dentists in various specialties who are continually helping our clients. We have a large number of clients who have never taken care of their teeth, some with a condition known in the media as "meth mouth." In most of these cases the clients end up receiving full dentures because the damage has been so extensive.

Hotel and motel chains donate large amounts of sheets pillows and towels. When they upgrade to new dressers and beds, our organization often is the recipient of the furniture they replace.

We also obtain stoves and refrigerators from apartment owners who sometimes have us refurbish their units. They often have no way of disposing of the old appliances. So the easy solution is to give them to us.

The point of all this is to acknowledge and express gratitude for the larger community that supports us.