From left, Nancy Tompkins, Catholic Charities director of development and marketing; Arnold Valentin, service area director of Catholic Charities Community Services; Marlene Laó-Collins, executive director of Catholic Charities; Lori Leonard, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton; and Annie Fox, Habitat’s director of resource development. Courtesy photo

From left, Nancy Tompkins, Catholic Charities director of development and marketing; Arnold Valentin, service area director of Catholic Charities Community Services; Marlene Laó-Collins, executive director of Catholic Charities; Lori Leonard, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton; and Annie Fox, Habitat’s director of resource development. Courtesy photo

A partnership between two social service agencies is aiding the local community in new ways.

Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton is partnering with fellow nonprofit Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton to donate groceries, cleaning supplies and other household items they receive and cannot sell at their Maple Shade “ReStore” warehouse. The items will go to vulnerable citizens who visit Catholic Charities’ Community Service food pantries, its Domestic Violence Services and other sites that serve people in need.

Habitat’s ReStore, located on Route 38 in Maple Shade, offers donated new and used furniture, home goods and building supplies for sale to the public at deep discounts. Store proceeds, totaling $828,000 last year, are used to build affordable housing in Burlington and Mercer counties.

Numerous donations of items the ReStore could not sell, such as food, baby formula and hygiene items, prompted Habitat’s chief executive officer Lori Leonard to reach out to Catholic Charities.

“Instead of selling [the items], we realize that our community partners like Catholic Charities can get them to the most vulnerable people in our communities,” Leonard said. “As a result of this blessing, we are able to directly support food banks, homeless shelters, foster care programs and victims of domestic violence, to name a few. We are so thankful to have these partnerships and share in our abundance.”

In 2018, Catholic Charities’ Community Services served more than 4,900 different clients in Burlington County and more than 1,200 in Mercer County. More than 400 adults and children impacted by domestic violence stayed in Providence House’s two shelters last year.

“This is a great alliance that brings two nonprofits together to maximize our strengths,” said Marlene Lao-Collins, executive director of Catholic Charities. “We look forward to a long relationship with them, and hoe to develop other ways we can collaborate to improve our communities.”

Both agencies are investigating other ways to collaborate in the future, including aid in rental and transitional housing, home ownership, and determination of work-skill readiness.