A Hand Up Erie

A Hand Up Erie (AHU) was conceived in 2016 with the vision of providing necessary household items to our community members in need. AHU is a 501c3.

Thanks to the Erie Community Foundation, we have added a new covered trailer to help increase furniture pickup and delivery. 
Through the generosity of the 2021 Furchak-Ferko Annual Grant Program (EWF), AHUE received a $5,000 grant to purchase new Furniture and household goods.

We provide disadvantaged members of our community with household items to provide a Hand Up for a better life!

A Hand Up ERIE (AHU) originated in 2016 with the vision of providing donated essential household items and furnishings to our community members needing A HAND UP with their current situation.  Since that day in 2016, AHU has confirmed its ongoing need in Erie County by providing thousands of families with over 55,000 donated and delivered household necessities.

The need for assistance in Erie County is substantially real.  This is confirmed by the continuous list of clients who reach out to AHU for assistance on a daily basis.  And while many agencies in the area assist with securing living spaces for those in need, there are very few other agencies to help make that space home.  That is where we come in.

In order to meet the needs of these folks, our volunteers utilize their own vehicles (pickup trucks and SUVs) to pull either their own trailer or one of the three A H U trailers.  Thanks to the Erie Community Foundation for our third covered trailer to help increase deliveries and donation pick-ups.  

All donated items are stored in a warehouse which our dedicated volunteers efficiently run.  The ENTIRE organization is VOLUNTEER driven.  No one is monetarily compensated at A Hand Up ERIE. 


Mark Ericson

Mark Ericson

Mark is currently serving as the Operations Manager at Erie Commerce for IRG Realty Advisors.  Mark worked for Optimas OE Solutions as Operations/Service Center Manager from 2014-2017.  His facility did between $20 and $60 Million annually in sales to major...

Michele Ericson

Michele Ericson

Michele has lived in Erie, PA her entire life.  She attended both Erie Public Schools and parochial schools in the city of Erie.  She graduated from the parochial system in Millcreek Township, a suburb of Erie.  She is currently the store manager for Colleys Pools...

Gary Miles

Gary Miles

Professional Lending officer. Strength in relationship management and employee development. Matching and maximizing skill sets to exceed corporate goals. Extensive Sales and Management background. Thrive in a productive environment with open communication where ideas...

Mark Howell

Mark Howell

Mark is retired from Erie Beer Company.  Mark worked for Erie Beer for 16 years overseeing vehicle fleet maintenance, training new hires for commercial driver license testing and was also responsible for warehouse administration.  Mark processed orders,...

Our Story

Those in Need

The range of those in need is broad and the reach of AHU is constantly growing.  AHU serves women who are fleeing domestic violence situations, people recovering from addiction or who are being released from prison and who are working to rehabilitate into our community, people with disabilities who are experiencing their first independent living situation, and United States veterans who have suffered illness and injury protecting the freedoms we all enjoy. While there are many agencies in the area that assist with securing living spaces for those in need, there are no agencies to help with making that space a home. 

Our Community

Most of the requests that AHU receives (which averages about four requests each day) originate from our community’s unemployed or underemployed who do not have the financial means to purchase furniture or other household items.  Our clients also do not have the resources to pick up the items.  In order to meet the needs of our clients, our volunteers utilize their personal vehicles (pick-up trucks, SUVs, and trailers) for deliveries.  Donated items such as couches, chairs, coffee tables, beds, night stands, dressers, TV stands, desks, dining/kitchen tables and chairs, wall hangings, curtains, linens, dishes, pots and pans, and other small appliances are stored in our warehouse space.

Saving Lives & Families Since 2016

Families Helped

Items Donated

Monthly Requests

We’ve Delivered over 55,000 Items to Help Underserved in Erie

Requests are received through social media messages, emails, and referrals that come from local social service agencies that we partner with as part of our expansion initiative.  The requests are logged chronologically and our inventory is checked for the requested items.  While it is our goal to provide every item requested by our clients, we are often unable to do this because our inventory is dependent on the generosity of those who donate their items to AHU.

After matching the items we have with the items requested, a delivery list and route is created, deliveries are scheduled, and volunteers are notified.  On an average week, AHU volunteers deliver necessary household items to between ten and twelve families on a Saturday and—if volunteers and vehicles are available—additional deliveries are made on a weeknight to increase our impact to approximately fifteen individuals or families in our community being served on a weekly basis.