Hand to Hand Foundation continues expansion in Alma, supporting River Valley nonprofits

·3 min read
Pastor James Abbey and Lori Layne, president of Hand to Hand Foundation, stand inside the organization's warehouse with Layne's grandson, Cedric Layne. Hand to Hand is located at 3820 Highway 71 North in Alma.
Pastor James Abbey and Lori Layne, president of Hand to Hand Foundation, stand inside the organization's warehouse with Layne's grandson, Cedric Layne. Hand to Hand is located at 3820 Highway 71 North in Alma.

Behind every nonprofit is a network of staff, volunteers, partners and donors who create a foundation to build up their communities.

The Hand to Hand Foundation in Alma serves as a backbone for nonprofits, churches and other community service organizations across Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

More than 200 organizations rely on the foundation for items like clothing, furniture, food and household cleaning products. The foundation also works directly with individuals in need who are sent by nonprofits.

"Our main mission is to help the local church to help local organizations within those communities,” said James Abbey, pastor of Blessed Hope Baptist Church. “I mean, those are ones that are being contacted on the day-to-day. A lot of these organizations spend so much money, and they don’t have resources. If they can spend less and get more stuff, have access to more, that’s one of our goals.”

Current community partners include 100 Families, the Gospel Rescue Mission and New Start for Children and Families.

One side of the Hand to Hand Foundation's 42-to-44,000-square-foot warehouse is set up like a store, allowing nonprofit workers to browse available items.
One side of the Hand to Hand Foundation's 42-to-44,000-square-foot warehouse is set up like a store, allowing nonprofit workers to browse available items.

Food pantries, 501(c)(3) organizations and community outreach groups can get items at about 10-30 percent of their original cost, which serves as an administrative fee for the Hand to Hand Foundation to continue its work, Abbey said.

Lori Layne, president of Hand to Hand Foundation, shared how the organization helped her cousin, who is a youth pastor in Tulsa.

“The items were so much cheaper than what he was going to have go and get at the store,” Layne said. “I was able to show him food boxes that I had, and they’re spending $1,300 to $1,500 a week on just some of the food … and that’s going to be enough for three weeks for them, when they would spend more than that in one week at the grocery store.”

One side of the nearly 44,000-square-foot warehouse is set up like a store, allowing nonprofit workers to browse available items ranging from shelves of cleaning supplies to racks of clothing.

The foundation receives items from Feed the Children and Good360, which distributes excess goods from businesses to help people in need.

The foundation has ongoing plans to expand its work in the Arkansas River Valley with added warehouse space, offices and meeting rooms as well as a soup kitchen.

Expanding its offices will create additional space to hold reunification meetings where families can meet with their children in the foster care system.

The organization recently donated beds to families currently facing court involvement and the child welfare system.

“They’re trying to get on their feet, get their home in order,” Abbey said. “They were doing everything right, but they needed help getting their home in order as far as beds and different things. They actually sent us pictures of the first night the kids got to sleep in those beds.”

“It’s giving them an opportunity to get on their feet, to do right in society.”

The Hand to Hand Foundation also plans to launch a voucher program to support families in need of household goods and other items.

The Hand to Hand Foundation is located at 3820 Highway 71 North in Alma.
The Hand to Hand Foundation is located at 3820 Highway 71 North in Alma.

For those interested in getting involved as a partner organization or volunteer, they can call 501-358-0609 or 479-430-7840. More information can also be found on the Hand to Hand Foundation Facebook page.

Donations can be made online at www.hand2handfoundation.org or by mail to 3820 Highway 71 North, Alma, AR 72921.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Hand to Hand Foundation Arkansas

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