The Window Helps Provide Essential Needs for Those With Limited Income
Writer / Julie Yates
For more than 54 years, The Window in Goshen has provided services to meet the essential needs of anyone with limited income. The nonprofit, faith-based organization provides food, clothing and opportunities to socialize with others through its programs. After modifying its procedures due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is now returning to pre-pandemic operation.
“The organization was started by a group of pastors and other church men who met for coffee every week, ”says Susi Miller, director of development. “They decided they wanted to do something for the community that would provide some support. Eventually they asked Church Women United of Goshen to take it over. The group expanded the operation by handing out food, clothes and donations. It kept growing. It was later renamed The Window and became a 501(c)(3) organization.”
Through the Food Pantry, Katie’s Kitchen, Meals on Wheels and the Clothes Closet, the organization provides nourishment and clothing. Before the pandemic, it also provided the opportunity for social interaction when doughnuts and coffee were served every morning, plus lunch every day. Unfortunately, programs were substantially scaled back during the pandemic. Now staff and volunteers are eagerly awaiting a full return to business as usual.
During lockdowns, the Katie’s Kitchen team handed out bags of pre-made food. The Food Pantry boxed up food that recipients could pick up once per week. The Clothes Closet completely shut down for a year. Since the facility was closed to the public, however, the building underwent a major refresh that included painting, new floors, new carpeting, and installation of double doors in the receiving area.
“Two things never stopped,” Miller says. “Meals on Wheels of Goshen did not stop delivering meals to shut-ins. People were allowed to come from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday to ‘shop’ the at-risk table – things that will expire soon or are dented, but are still perfectly good. There was no limit to how many days in a week someone could come in and fill up two grocery bags.”
The Food Pantry, which reopened at the beginning of June, supplies fresh meat, cheese, eggs, pasta, cereal, canned goods such as soup and even snacks like sweets. Individuals can again visit the pantry once per month and choose what they personally prefer. All that is needed to access the program is an ID. The number of items received depends on the amount of people living in the household.
“We are excited that Katie’s Kitchen will start up again on August 8,” Miller says. “It will serve doughnuts and coffee from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Clothing Closet is open Tuesday morning, and Thursday morning and afternoon. It is staffed completely by volunteers, and the challenge is that we don’t always have staff. If people are interested in volunteering they can go to our website, but the best thing is just to call in.”
Miller is planning several events to increase community awareness of The Window. The largest will be an open house on August 5 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held at 4:30 p.m. The celebration will showcase the renovations completed under the leadership of Executive Director Ed Swartley during the shutdown.
The annual Outrunning Hunger 5K will return on September 3 to raise funds for the organization. On September 2, a dinner to benefit The Window, a pre-COVID tradition, will be held during Goshen’s First Friday event. Also in the works are several Nelson’s fundraisers in July and October.
“There are a lot of wonderful people involved with The Window,” Miller says. “We have individuals who volunteer once a week and church groups that volunteer once a month. Every day, drivers on staff travel to big-box stores who donate items to us such as goods they are no longer putting on the shelves. It’s still good food. They are just making way to stock something newer. Little Caesars gives us day-old pizza. Individuals come in with eggs and clothing, and large food banks help supply us with foodstuffs. Businesses donate things left at the end of the season that they don’t want to store.”
“This is the job I always wanted,” Miller continues. “The other day I was walking out to my car in the parking lot when a guy popped out of his car. He said, ‘Guess what? I got a job. Thanks for keeping me fed, and thanks for the clothes so I had something to wear when I interviewed.’ The Window is a wonderful place.”
The Window is located at 223 South Main Street in Goshen. For more info, call 574-533-9680 or visit thewindowofgoshen.com.