Charity Community Family

Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot Helps Local Families in Need

LV Outreach Depot

Imagine losing everything you own in a fire or flood, or due to some other unforeseen event. The impact of a single disaster can have a long-lasting impact on families, and particularly on children, which is one of the reasons the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot was established nearly 15 years ago. Today, the organization needs donations to continue fulfilling its mission.

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LV Outreach Depot

Above, an artificial Christmas tree is bundled in preparation for a family in need to pick it up at the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot in Allentown. The depot works with local social services agencies to assist families who have lost all of their belongings to disaster and other circumstances. Families must be referred to the organization in order to receive aid, and they must transport the donated furniture and other household items they receive.

Imagine losing everything you own in a fire or flood, or due to some other unforeseen event. The impact of a single disaster can have a long-lasting impact on families, and particularly on children, which is one of the reasons the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot was established in Bethlehem nearly 15 years ago.

Located on the east side of Allentown, the depot today is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization completely run by volunteers and entirely dependent on the generosity of local donors who contribute furniture, housewares and other items to its inventory, as well as provide financial support. All of its clients are referred by local social services agencies or clergy who have verified their need.

This year the LVOD has helped many local families, which is one reason why its warehouse inventory has dwindled significantly, meaning that displaced families could go without items they need.

In this season of giving, the organization recently put out a call for donations to ensure that it can continue its mission to support some of the most vulnerable people in our community–in 2024 and beyond.

Volunteer Renee Hillman of Lower Saucon Township said anyone can donate to the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (except on major holidays), when volunteers are on hand to receive the donations at the LVOD warehouse at 619 E. Allen Street in Allentown.

Located in a residential area off Susquehanna Street, the depot asks that donors first call 610-351-1616 to let its volunteers know they are coming.

For donations of large furniture, pick-ups may be arranged, but must be scheduled in advance.

Depot manager Barbara Reimers said that those appointments are currently being scheduled a couple weeks out, which is why the depot asks that all donors drop off their items if they are able to.

If necessary, volunteers will come inside a donor’s home to remove the furniture that is being donated, and monetary donations to help offset transportation-related costs are always welcome.

In terms of the volunteers who have turned the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot into a community asset, Hillman said that each person tends to quickly find their niche within the organization.

With a background in assisting families in need, she typically helps the families and individuals who are referred to the depot as they go through its sections selecting the items they will receive.

Other volunteers work in small repair shop on the premises, where basic things such as a lamp with a frayed electrical cord are made useful again.

And others, like Ann Henshaw of Hellertown, are happy to lend their individual talents to the depot.

Henshaw is a blanket maker who regularly drops off colorful, cozy fleece throws for the children of families she knows are in need of comfort.

“It’s a labor of love,” she said of her work one recent Tuesday, when the warehouse hummed with activity.

Some things are not accepted by the depot, including mattresses and children’s strollers, high chairs, cribs and the like. (Note: A complete list of items that are/aren’t accepted is available on the LVOD website.) Other items, Hillman noted, are needed more often than they are among the donated stock, which is why they are regularly purchased from a local Walmart. Among those household basics are things like coffee makers and toasters.

The volunteers at the depot are also mindful of the size of each family they are serving, and how that affects what they need.

“We just want to know they’re coming from a place that legitimately, they’re in need,” Hillman said. More information for caseworkers and clergy, along with an application for assistance, is available on the LVOD website.

Currently, one of the LVOD’s major needs is a new truck, and donations toward that major purchase are actively being solicited.

For individuals who would like to donate furniture or other items, the organization asks that they be clean and serviceable (no rips, tears or stains). Items that don’t meet those criteria or aren’t on its list of accepted items should be considered for removal via a company such as 1-800-GOTJUNK rather than donated to the Depot, according to its website.

Hillman also noted that a few strong volunteers to help on truck pick-ups on Tuesdays and Saturdays are another current need.

For more information about how to donate or support the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot with a monetary donation or a donation of time, visit or call 610-351-1616.

The site also includes information about disaster relief kits the LVOD assembles for people in need throughout the country. Each kit includes basic cleaning and hygiene items, which are collected in contractor buckets before being shipped out to affected areas.

LV Outreach Depot

Originally begun as a mission of Bethlehem’s Wesley United Methodist Church, the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot eventually evolved into an independent nonprofit organizaton. First located on Auburn Street in South Bethlehem, the depot is now based off Susquehanna Street in east Allentown. Volunteers are on hand to accept donated furniture and other essential household items most Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Buckets that contain the disaster relief kits the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot assembles are stacked in one section of the organization’s warehouse.

Child-size fleece blankets with frills are a specialty of Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot volunteer Ann Henshaw of Hellertown. Henshaw regularly sews and drops off the blankets for the children of the families who are served by the organization.

Tables, chairs, appliances and other items needed by families who have lost everything are stored in the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot’s warehouse on E. Allen Street in Allentown.

Pots, pans, utensils, small appliances, glasses, dishes and other items for the kitchen are organized in one section of the warehouse. Basic coffee makers and toasters are often purchased at Walmart, to keep up with demand.

Seasonal decorations such as the artificial Christmas trees pictured above are accepted from donors as long as they are clean and in good condition.

Donated housewares fill a shelf inside the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot warehouse in Allentown.

Wall art, end tables, coffee tables and various other types of living room furniture along with other household items are stored in the warehouse of the Lehigh Valley Outreach Depot in Allentown.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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