How Can I Help Local Homeless Shelters?

How can you help your local homeless shelters? Opportunity House, the leading shelter for the homeless population in Berks County, PA, accepts donations toward the services of our shelter and donations of items for our thrift store. Whether you have time, money, or items to give, your contributions will be used to help the most vulnerable among us.

Homeless Food KitchenOpportunity House was founded in 1984 and offers emergency shelter for men, women, and children. As we’ve grown, our scope of services has as well. In addition to shelter, three meals and a snack per day, shower and laundry access, and the essentials of living, we also provide case management, transitional and permanent housing, early childhood education, thrift store operations, a community garden, and more.

The Second Street Learning Center

When parents can work knowing their children are safe, they can pursue education and employment opportunities. The Second Street Learning Center, operated by Opportunity House, offers high-quality learning services. We serve about 200 students each year, providing programs for children 6 weeks to 13 years of age. 

OppShop Retail Thrift Store

The Reuse and Recycle program of Opportunity House includes OppShop, our retail thrift store, and our warehouse. Items that don’t sell at OppShop are recycled. OppShop collects gently used items for resale.

The emergency shelter residents are given vouchers to shop at OppShop, and community members have an affordable source of clothing, books, housewares, and media. Environmentally, we rescue items from unnecessarily going into the landfill.

Donations to OppShop are welcome at the donation center behind the thrift store location Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. You can deposit small items inside bins spread throughout the county or contact us for a pickup if you have oversized items to donate.

Donating items to OppShop helps the environment as well as the homeless population. We accept used items that are in good, saleable condition.

Examples of accepted donation items:

  • Men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing
  • Media (CDs, DVDs, and VHS)
  • Kitchen utensils and cutlery
  • Dishware and cookware
  • Holiday items
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Flat-screen televisions
  • Purses and bags
  • Shoes
  • Toys

Examples of unacceptable donation items:

  • Chemicals
  • Older model console televisions and stereos
  • Copy machines
  • Building supplies
  • Infant and toddler furniture
  • Computer monitors
  • Office chairs with four or fewer wheels
  • Carpets
  • Tires

Feel free to reach out for approval if you aren’t sure about the donations you have in mind.

Volunteering Opportunities

Helping Opportunity House through service takes many forms, and we have many volunteer opportunities.

  • Prepare and serve meals
  • Provide a day of service
  • Serve on a committee for a fundraising event (Souper Bowl; Wine, Women, and Shoes; Golf Event: Annual Garden Celebration)
  • Sort donations, stock shelves, and greet customers at OppShop

The mission of Opportunity House is to serve the homeless population, helping them overcome the challenges that stand in the way of sustained housing. Homelessness is one instance of bad luck away for many families, a situation that should make the problem personal for us all.

You can help support local homeless shelters by helping OppShop promote the mission of Opportunity House. From financial donations to giving items or time, we welcome your support.