Overflow is an good place to go when a student wants to buy cute clothing at a reasonable price. However, not many people know about all of the charitable works the organization does for the Ames community.
As an organization, the store donates to many kinds of organizations, and there are four different organizations that they support every month.
These "core" organizations are Wings of Refuge, which helps women recovering from sex trafficking; Life to Life Africa, which aids orphans, widows and elderly people in Zimbabwe; Children's Hope Chest, which helps orphans escape poverty; and United Christians International in the Haiti (UCI Haiti), which assists students in continuing their education and working toward a promising future.
“About 17.5% of everything that we make we give away,” Ashley Mowrer, Executive Director of Overflow said. “Every month we give them [each organization] about $1,000 a month, regardless of if we make a profit or not.”
Past the monetary support that Overflow gives, they also help in other ways. For Wings of Refuge, they have gone above the normal monetary donation for their organization.
“We bought all the furniture for a room in their house,” Mowrer said. “That way the women who are living there have everything that they need. As they request we provide whatever they require like clothing.”
While these are their core charities that the store donates to, they also contribute to many other organizations.
“We are a mix of both local and international that we give charities to,” Jennifer Thompson, operations director, said. “We help the Youth & Shelter Services which impact the community right here and we also give to Life to Life Africa and UCI and other global missions so there is a good mix of helping in our own neighborhood and helping around the world.”
There are also many people who volunteer their time to help out the store. These people come from all different backgrounds but all believe in the mission. Several of the volunteers are students at Iowa State.
“I’m a student at Iowa State and I was tired of just doing school stuff,” Amanda Schuler, a volunteer at Overflow, said. “I wanted to do something. I go to Cornerstone Church and they partnered me with Overflow to volunteer.”
Overflow also attempts to use sustainable practices in their work. Schuler said the store goes to great lengths to ensure that the products that won't sell get recycled in the best way possible.
“I am glad we are able to keep stuff out of the landfill and [use] it again,” Schuler said. “If it is clothing, we bale it, and we take it to a place that recycles clothing as well as recycling glass and stuff. We do a lot of recycling of stuff that we can’t use.”
It is a team effort to make all of this possible. Without the volunteers and help from their partners, Overflow would not be able to contribute to different organizations each month and be successful about it.
“As a whole it has been such an honor to lead an organization that truly truly cares about wanting to grow its mission,” Mowrer said. “Not only to be able to pour money into these international ministries that really really need it, but to also have a heart for the local community and know that what we’re not trying to do is not make a bunch of money to support other people. What we’re trying to do is make some money to support our ministries as well as the local community.”