The holiday season is over and here comes the new year. It will be an interesting one with a new governor and Illinois’ budgetary challenges. We don’t have a sense of what will happen yet…could be funding cuts, more payment delays, new revenue for the state, etc. We’re keeping an ear out so we can plan as best we can and working on educating our new governor and the new representatives and senators on the importance of what we do.
Work slows down a little this time of year as businesses with whom we contract have days off and employees taking time off and needing product in their own warehouse for inventory. We’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to do some painting, waxing and buffing, cleaning, and dragging out the old Richard Simmons videos. Things are picking back up now though. We have a shredding job in Coal City today as well as more shredding in-house.
We’re gradually preparing for our big SU 50th anniversary party from 4-7 pm on Thursday, May 7. We want a big turnout, so please save the date and encourage your coworkers, friends and families to come. We’ll have soft drinks and adult beverages, tasty food, cool door prizes, the jazz band and more! If they don’t know anything about SU, that’s fine too…just tell them free eats and drinks and music. We absolutely love people to see what we do–often they will have a helpful idea then and there or sometime down the road.
We wish a happy and healthy new year to you all and thank you for all the support you have given us over recent years and over the last 50.
We are so very very fortunate to have so many supportive friends here in the Streator Community.
It’s going to be a big sale and we still have donations coming in through September 30! This is a good time to do some fall cleaning and lighten your living space up. Also a great time to come and get some good bargains!
There’s a great article on it in the Times today. We’re really excited. Even so, I don’t think we are excited as Jimmy pulling the first harvest of the year out of the garden at Knox Estates:
A terrific year for Food for Thought. We truly appreciate this support for those programs whose funding was eliminated by the state a few years ago. Thank you to all who made it such a success!
Every once in awhile someone wonders why we don’t do those off-the-street paint line jobs anymore. The ones where somebody brings by one part for their car, or a few pieces of metal for a flag or a bench or something like that. After all, we ask (and are generously given) support by our Streator community, so why would we ever turn away work?
The main reason for this is cost. The variables on the paint line are the speed of the conveyor rack, the heat of the oven, and the paint we are using. Changing paint takes over an hour, so there is money spent and time lost when we do something very individualized. The speed of the conveyor and the heat of the oven have to match the surface area, density and thickness of the metal going through. If it doesn’t, instead of a nice coating, you either get something that will chip and peel right away or you get a piece of metal burned into something unrecognizable. If there is the tiniest bit of oil or rust on a part, the paint won’t adhere. Then it has to be sand-blasted either before being painted or after. We’re not well equipped to do much sand-blasting and the cost is prohibitive.
Finally, the paint line itself is not very cost-effective. The equipment and energy demands cost a lot and the funding we used to get to support supervision and supports for our consumers working there was cut several years ago. We’ve discussed closing it down completely and selling off the equipment every year or two. We value the jobs for our consumers, but can’t afford to have a job that doesn’t support itself.
The last time we had this discussion, we decided to leave the fate of the paint line up to our regular customers. We raised our prices by as much as 70% and decided that, if they continued to send us work, we’d keep the paint line going. Otherwise, we’d sell off the equipment and work harder on getting other types of jobs or on community employment. Fortunately, they kept sending us work and, because they are parts in larger runs and we’re familiar with the settings requirements, we can keep running the paint line in such a way that it covers its costs and contributes a small amount towards supporting our services.
Why not keep doing those little jobs and raise prices like we did for our larger customers? Mainly because we want to focus on the customers who are our main source of work and also because we’d have to charge so much for one little, unique part that it would be offensive to the potential customer. We have learned during the hard years that, much as we want to be, we can’t be everything to everyone, so keep our focus on things that most directly benefit the people we server and the direct care staff who support them.
Speaking of community support, thank you to the Knights of Columbus!
Food for Thought is back again this year! We’ve tweaked the format based on our experience last year. We lengthened the time of the vendor s how and, instead of a big show in the auditorium we’ll have half hour food demonstrations right there in the commons. There will once again be lots of prizes to be won as well! Tickets are now on sale at Centrue Bank and here at SU.
Thank you Bill for the pizza and bowling parties! They were awesome!
A big Thank You to the Streator Lions Club!