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.

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

Since that day in 2016, AHU has evidenced its efficacy and ongoing need in the City of Erie and surrounding areas by providing over 3,000 families with over 25,000 donated and delivered household necessities.

The need for assistance in the City of Erie is tangible and profound.  This is evidenced not only by the continuous list of residents who reach out to AHU for assistance, but also by the most recent poverty statistics for the City of Erie.  In our city of 97,000 residents, 26.9% of adults, 43.5% of teens under the age of 18, and 44.1% of children under the age of 5 live below the Federal Poverty Guideline.  This means that the income of a single person is under $12,490 annually and is under $25,750 for a family of four.  The City of Erie is where the majority AHU requests are received from and where donations are delivered.  The poverty levels for Erie County are slightly lower but still significant at 16%, 24.9% and 34.1%, respectively.

OUR TEAM

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,...

Sandra J Campbell

Sandra J Campbell

Sandra worked for Optimas OE Solutions as Operations Administrator for 13 years from 2004-2017 until corporate closed the facility due to General Electric moving production. Sandra while working at Optimas was responsible for annual inventory daily cycle counts and...

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 a warehouse that donates space to AHU.

Saving Lives & Families Since 2016

Families Helped

Items Donated

Monthly Requests

We’ve Delivered over 25,000 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.

Over the past two and a half years, A Hand Up Erie has evidenced its need in our community.  Since its conception in 2016, ten thousand household items have been donated and delivered to over 1,300 families in need by an all-volunteer group of 15+ people.  It has become clear that A Hand Up Erie is filling a gap that is much needed in our community and there is evidence that being solely dependent on donated items from the community is not enough to fulfill that gap.