Imagine being in charge of a nonprofit and having a large corporation unexpectedly reach out and support your work in the community.
Two months ago, that scenario happened when Molina Healthcare contacted the Long Beach Rescue Mission (LBRM).
Since 1972, LBRM has been working to help people overcome the homeless cycle. The Mission runs two Long Beach shelters, the Samaritan House for men and the Lydia House for women and children, with 190 total beds.
“The Long Beach Rescue Mission works to put individuals on a path toward independence," said Ruthy Argumendo, associate vice president of community engagement at Molina Healthcare. "They strengthen people so they can become healthy and this aligns perfectly with Molina’s goals.”
Argumedo said Molina became aware of the work LBRM was doing in the community and began to inquire about LBRM’s needs. It became clear that hygiene products were in high demand at the Mission, so company officials decided to open a Molina Closet at the site.
Essentially, a Molina Closet is a small store filled with free products. Molina volunteers put together 200 kits, each filled with full-size shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, body lotion, soap, and deodorant. The items were placed in 200 plastic boxes with snap-close lids. On Friday, June 28, the Molina leadership team went to LBRM to drop off the supplies and officially open the Molina Closet.
“The residents were so happy — these are things they really want,” Lupe Lopez, the Rescue Mission's director of development, said. “And the boxes let them carry their things and keep them secure.”
Administrators at LBRM knew the kits were arriving, but they were surprised by a large, unexpected gift from Molina Healthcare — a transit van.
“The Molina fleet was going through some changes, so we were able to donate one of our vehicles, a 2011 Ford Transit,” Argumedo said. “What made it even more fun was the fact that all of the members of our leadership team made monetary pledges and drove together to Costco. They purchased enough diapers and feminine products to completely fill the van!”
Lopez said the van will be a tremendous blessing to take residents to medical appointments and job interviews. The vehicle also will allow the Mission to pick up products donated by business partners like Starbucks, The Merchant Coffee House, Costco and Pavilions.
According to Argumedo, Molina loves serving the underserved. Each year, the company offers employees 16 hours of paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO). This program, called Helping Hands, allows Molina personnel to connect with individuals and organizations in need. Argumedo said that the culture of giving back quickly becomes contagious.
“It’s a highlight for us, being able to make life better for people,” Argumedo said. “It’s very inspirational.”
“It is truly amazing to have a company come alongside us in such a strong way,” Lopez said. “We only met the Molina people two months ago, but they have already been so helpful. In addition to the Closet and the van, they have partnered with us for fundraising events and they have big plans for the future. I think this is going to be a great, long-term relationship.”