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AWARE Ink Newsletter

AWARE Distribution Centers Offer Clients Work Experience

Living independent lives in a supportive community means something different for everyone. At AWARE, we support the people we serve by ensuring they have a choice in how they carry out their daily lives.

Each and every person gets the opportunity to live in a home of choice; experience supportive, compassionate relationships; and take part in enjoyable community activities. This might include owning a pet, watching TV, having lunch with friends, going on vacation – or working in a job that provides meaningful employment.

AWARE offers several positions that offer meaningful work for clients, including clerical, janitorial, lawn care, snow removal and car washing. But also, AWARE provides a unique opportunity at its distribution centers located in Anaconda, Butte, Great Falls – and coming soon – Billings and Missoula.

The distribution centers act as a small warehouse where AWARE’s group homes can order the food and supplies they need on a weekly basis.

The basic structure of the program has an AWARE team member overseeing the clients who want to work at distribution. Together they collect orders from the group homes, order the homes’ requests from the distributors, organize and separate the orders and then deliver.

AWARE team members will tell you that the clients really do want and enjoy working at distribution.

Distribution provides a learning experience for everyone who chooses to spend time on the clock, including filling orders, inventory, rotating supplies and dusting. Because it is a place that has work for everyone, a job may be as simple as grabbing a few rolls of toilet paper to help fill an order for a home.

Clients who take part in AWARE’s employment opportunities are scheduled according to times that work best for them. They earn minimum wage. Just like every AWARE staff across the state, the clients log their hours into a computer system and receive a check every couple of weeks.

An Example of Excellence

Currently, a system that will support all the AWARE distributions centers is being developed to ensure consistency and ease. AWARE staff member Athena Baez oversees the Great Falls distribution center and the clients who work there (pictured).

Each distribution center will have its own take on the process, like the menus Athena created for the Great Falls homes that rotate every couple of weeks. The menu helps keep the distribution center stocked with the items each home needs. It keeps residents informed on their food choices – some really good ones too! And it provides consistency for the clients who work at the warehouse.

Entering the storage room in Great Falls, you’ll notice shelves lined with commodities, refrigerators storing cold and frozen goods and baskets lined up and ready for the next order. Athena created a special color system that indicates where the orders will be going. Pink, blue, green, yellow, purple or red stickers represent each Great Falls group home.

The two women who work at the center show a sense of determination to carry out their job at the distribution center. Their happiness and enjoyment are evident in the meaningful work they do.

You might wonder how this work will benefit them in the future.

AWARE Success Stories

Perhaps you recall these success stories about a few of the people AWARE serves who found work in a community setting:

Steve and Derrick’s job-seeking journeys lead them to a perfect employment fit at Perkins in Billings that allow them the opportunity to be connected in their community.

While David, who works at Albertsons in Anaconda as a cashier, has found true value in his employment opportunities, receiving regular pay and health insurance through Albertsons.

At one time, Steve, Derrick and David all worked under AWARE’s employment services. The support they’ve received from staff has helped them carry their skills into the community workforce.

These men are considered great success stories! We’re so proud of them and all of the people who take part in this service.

To learn more about the services AWARE provides, go to

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