Delta Community Services Board

Photo by Kyle Szymanski

The Delta Community Services Board, seen here at its distribution center in Brentwood, is guiding the organization into its 43rd year.

The door of Delta Community Services Center in Brentwood opens multiple times a day, but the organization's members don't always know who's about to come inside. One thing is almost guaranteed: something good is about to happen.

The 42-year-old nonprofit — launched by a group of concerned citizens with the goal of creating a community service center — offers free donated clothing, toys, household items and a host of other goods for needy East County individuals and families.

"We are similar to Goodwill, but we have donors and we have recipients," said Delta Community Services President Michael O'Connor. "That is where we make a difference."

The organization's distribution center, at 101 Sand Creek Road, served 1,721 needy people last year from Brentwood, Bethel Island, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, Oakley and, occasionally, Antioch, officials said.

The center's goods are from screened community donations of clothes, linens, tableware, toys and a host of other essential household items, arranged in a series of rooms that organization members describe as a makeshift department store.

About 600 families donated goods to the organization last year.

"I think we have done a pretty good job not turning away anyone who is in need," said Craig Burger, the organization's treasurer.

The approach of the holidays is a special time for the organization, according to its members.

The aforementioned "department store" is also a food distribution center for about 100 families every year around Thanksgiving.

And at Christmas, it resembles a toy shop, with about 500 new toys, in addition to more food, pouring out the doors.

The organization has also donated hundreds of backpacks full of supplies to needy students for about eight years running, and has donated between 60 and 100 Chromebooks to students for the past three years.

The donations make all the difference, said Maria Orosco, a recipient of the donations and single mom to 11-, 12- and 14-year-old children.

"They help with so many things," she said of the organization. "Food, Chromebooks, toys, Christmas gifts."

The nonprofit's members, including a volunteer six-member board and a legion of other unpaid helpers, attribute its success to a city grant and the community's generosity.

The city of Brentwood donates the use of a portion of the Brentwood Education & Technology Center for the organization's use and gives the organization a $24,000 yearly grant to pay the salary for the entity's sole employee.

Additionally, private donors, including Brentwood and Discovery Bay residents, donate funds to the organization yearly to carry out its mission beyond what the 600 families donate, and others are instrumental in fostering families at Thanksgiving and Christmas and collecting donated toys for the community.

"We do it because we love to do it, we love to give," said Barbara Olsen, who oversees educational outreach for the organization.

Going forward, the organization's leaders say they are refining how they deliver their services to carry on into the future.

It recently rebuilt its website, launched a Nextdoor account and hopes to analyze available data, including community needs assessments and local poverty and homelessness information, to home in on how best to move the organization forward.

The group is also exploring other marketing strategies to attract more users and donors, as well as exploring partnerships with other nonprofits.

"We are at the point where we think outside the box and think how we would like to expand," said Alida Durej, vice president of the organization. "What makes sense? I am excited to build on what we've got and what we do well, and maybe partner with other nonprofits to share resources."

The organization's free item thrift shop is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m.

Delta Community services is always seeking community input, volunteers and individuals and families to serve.

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