THE STOREHOUSE OF COMMUNITY SERVICES
The StoreHouse is a non-profit that leverages products and space for at- risk populations, promoting a chain reaction of generosity in the community. At its core, the StoreHouse strives to connect products to people, and people to their purpose.
History and Background
The StoreHouse started in a closet within a church called Frontline in the spring of 2010. It began with the vision to have those utilizing the products, also run the pantry. The challenge with the pantry was its limited capacity of only 75 sq. ft and the reliance on personal donations. There was no extra space to store products, only the ability to take in what could readily be distributed, about $1,000.00 in products the first year. Scaling operations and creating a need for more volunteers meant going back to the drawing board. Frontline church offered to sponsor The StoreHouse with over 25,000 square feet of space to be used for community impact. After 6 years of researching gaps within the community, along with several teachable moments, a partnership with World Vision emerged. World Vision fulfilled the mission with their abundance of hygiene items and school supplies for low-income schools.
In September 2016, shortly after the partnership formed with World Vision and space was secured through Frontline, it was very clear; this was just getting started! Expanding to a 25,200 square foot warehouse (and securing our own 501c3 status), the early space constraints were no longer an issue and an opportunity to receive items far more diverse materialized. In came shipments of pillows, blankets, printers, lawnmowers and more. The StoreHouse quickly formed partnerships with other Non-profits who shared the vision of a Hand Up not a Hand Out. Now over $1 million dollars in goods are redistributed each year.
Breaking New Ground
Part of the foundation of The StoreHouse is a “buy in membership”, a “Members Only” organization. The StoreHouse exists not just as a location but as a catalyst to building a community of members who receive dignity not charity. The Essentials Store requires a $20 yearly membership fee as well as a commitment of volunteer hours. The Teacher Resource Store requires a $50 yearly membership fee (per building) and requires the teachers to do ‘Community Pay it Forward’ projects with their students. In order for Non-profits to qualify for products, they must be an educational resource and create space for their clientele to better themselves.
Since volunteer participation is a component of membership, The StoreHouse quickly realized jobs training was a natural component. In true form of a Hand Up not a Hand Out, a training program is being designed to help individuals transition from minimum wage to a living wage. Another pioneer in work force development, Cascade Engineering, has also confirmed this gap.
The Director and Founder of The StoreHouse grew up in poverty. She experienced the benefit of free and reduced lunch programs, free clothes, and government assistance. What that did for her is drive her to work hard so that she herself could give back to the community in ways that she herself was once helped.