We have BIG things going on in Starfish-land: we have an office!
It started in November, and it's such a fun story. A local businessman/philanthropist saw Bethany Bruner's story about us in The Columbus Dispatch. He was excited because he'd been wanting to start a charity just like ours, and here it was, already done. He sent an email to our President/Founder, Nicole Banks, who called him that same day. He asked what Starfish needed, and she candidly told him that we needed office space. It is preventing us from growing and gathering. It's preventing us from using volunteers. It's preventing us from being able to support our law enforcement partners to the best of our abilities.
As it happened, he had a property and was able to put us in a perfect spot. How amazing is that?!! For now, we're only paying a token amount of rent, but as we grow and are able to financially shoulder that burden, we will pay him the market rate. Then, two of our board members covered the cost of our liability insurance for the rental space for the first year! Absolutely lovely, right?
The office space is large enough that we'll be able to store supplies there, including all the books for Books & Badges (which have been in Nicole's home until now). We'll be able to host volunteering events like our bag stuffings, and when the pandemic is over, we'll even be able to host our monthly Starfish meetings there.
Finally, and this is one of the best parts, we're in the same building as some other really amazing organizations that we can partner with. Our friends at the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio have a warehouse there, and IMPACT Community Action is headquartered there. We're looking forward to working closely with both organizations and will do features on both of them in the coming weeks so you can get to know them.
Today we met up to paint the space and had a lot of fun doing it. There was one wall--one of the formerly blue ones--that had water damage. Starfish Board Member and Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Tim Becker was the first one to notice it. He said we'd have to scrape it away a little bit. We asked him if he wasn't sure we could paint over it, but he took a screwdriver and showed us that it was completely peeling away at the slightest touch. Soooo...we got out snow scrapers and used those until Officer Dan Snyder arrived with a fully stocked paint kit--we mean fully. He and some others went to work on that wall, taking away every trace of water damage. Then, they mudded it. Officer Snyder is going to go back and finish working on it and then paint it.
So, you see...we already have happy memories of time spent with friends in this space. We are excited for many, many more.