Heath Ceramics on Friday kicks off the fifth year of its Home Plate program. During the monthlong event, the California ceramics company will collect donated dishes for Skid Row Housing Trust residents in exchange for a 25% discount on any corresponding piece of new Heath dinnerware.
In total, more than 16,000 dishes have been donated through the Home Plate program and have been given to more than 800 formerly homeless residents.
This year's donated dishes will be given out during four separate Dish Depot days, where the residents can choose dish sets to take back to their new homes in one of the 23 Skid Row Housing Trust buildings.
"As the Trust builds more buildings and gets more people off the street into permanent housing, we are happy to be a tiny part of making those homes more complete and personal," said potter Adam Silverman, formerly Heath's L.A. studio director. Staff and volunteers set up a Dish Depot store where residents sign up to shop for free dishes for their apartments. Each resident gets to choose at least 12 dishes.
For the Skid Row Housing Trust's programs, community relations manager Daniel Rizik-Baer explains that their goals go beyond helping set up necessities for daily life. "Each resident has keys to their own apartment. Part of that is transitioning people into a situation that is not just housing, but a home."
For the month of August, the Skid Row Housing Trust will pick up dishes every week and set up the Dish Depot in one of their resident buildings. "Things are not prepackaged," added Rizik-Baer. "They get to choose based on the color scheme they like for their apartment. During the event, residents like to get input from each other and the volunteers." The volunteers then help wrap up and deliver the dishes.
The partnership between Heath and the Skid Row Housing Trust provides both a needed element to the new homes and a tangible symbol of permanent housing. "The physical items, the dishes, really do make a difference in the lives of our residents. That choice and that ability to have matching plateware for their home gets at the very foundation and basics of what we are trying to do, which is to create an environment that people can be comfortable in and feel ownership," said Rizik-Baer.
In addition to the Home Plate program, the Skid Row Housing Trust offers gardening groups to learn about growing vegetables as well cooking classes on site at several buildings. Fostering safety and nutrition has become one more way that the Trust helps transform an uncertain future into a daily life with a kitchen, a table and a set of plates for meals.
To celebrate the fifth year of the program, a kick-off at Heath's L.A. showroom will take place Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Several architects, including representatives from Killefer Flammang Architects, Koning Eizenberg and Brooks + Scarpa, who have designed some of the Skid Row Housing Trust's newest buildings, will be on hand to speak about their work. Patrons will have a chance to learn more about the Trust's mission and building portfolio, while donating their dishes for a discount. The free event is open to the public, with food and wine by Heirloom LA and Silverlake Wine. RSVP online for the kick-off party.