It's a far cry from the garage in which Together We Cope started 31 years ago.
The Tinley Park-based nonprofit recently received a generous gift and soon will expand into an additional 3,100 square feet of space, donated by Tinley Park CPA Ray Busch.
The new space, located at 17728 Oak Park Avenue, includes office space, a small kitchen area and a large central room that the organization hopes to utilize as administrative offices and client meeting space.
Busch chose Together We Cope, he said, because he knew the organization would actually use the space, instead of selling it. The organization's role in the community was also a factor in his decision.
“They're doing something worthwhile,” Busch said. “They're feeding the hungry and helping the less fortunate in the area, instead of around the world, and I kind of like that.”
Together We Cope Executive Director Kathy Straniero said the donation is exactly what they need to expand services to the agency's thousands of clients across the Southland.
“It's a miracle," she said. “Our clients need more privacy, the food pantry needs more space. If we can figure out a way to move administration down there, then our clients can have more privacy here. … It's an opportunity for us right now.”
Space is tight at the current facility, said Marge Seltzner, Communications Manager for Together We Cope. Staff members consult clients in an open office environment at the front of the current location, with resale shop Nu2u directly next door and the food panty and office space sharing what space is leftover. The new space can't open soon enough, she said.
“It's going to really relieve a serious overcrowding here,” Seltzner said.
She added that thanks to plentiful generosity during the Christmas season, Together We Cope is currently bursting with donations, although the organization is always accepting more. If the organization move its administrative offices to the new location, the current office space will be used for storage, client services and client programs.
Together We Cope will continue operations from its current location, with hopes of continuing on a larger scale when the new space opens.
“We're part of the community,” Seltzner said. “We have a commitment to the community and so do our volunteers. … We feel really strongly about this, a lot of love goes into our work.”
For more information on Together We Cope's mission and how you can help, check out their website.