Warehouse offers low-cost building supplies to those in need

They must be doing something right at Framing Hope Warehouse, a new charitable operation under HELP of Southern Nevada.

The facility had its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 16, and national Framing Hope organizers have already asked that the chapter produce training videos to demonstrate how to start a branch of Framing Hope.

“They liked what they saw us doing as we were getting things ready to open,” said Fuilala Riley, chief operations officer for HELP of Southern Nevada. “They think other places can watch what we did, and they won’t have to make it all up from scratch.”

Framing Hope provides building supplies to those who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

“Framing Hope Warehouse offers low-cost home and building supplies to nonprofit organizations and veterans,” said Albert Weiss, manager of the new Framing Hope site. “We do it through a partnership with the Home Depot Foundation managed by Good360, the leader in product philanthropy.”

While the program is said to be new to Nevada, the warehouse is the seventh in the country, and most Home Depot stores participate in the Framing Hope project. Requests to take part in the program must go through Good360: Goods for the Greater Good, a charity created to administer such participation.

Charities that wish to participate in the Framing Hope Warehouse program must go through an approval process, too.

“It’s pretty simple,” Riley said. “We just have to verify the group’s charity or nonprofit status and have the organizers agree to our MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding).”

The terms require that charities use the products for facilities and maintenance and that the products, which are sold at steep discounts, won’t be resold or used for fundraising.

“We don’t want to see it end up on craigslist,” Riley said. “As long as it’s going towards their mission and not being exchanged for cash, it’s OK.”

The products from the warehouse get used for projects such as repairing and maintaining offices and other facilities. Arnold Stalk, founder of Veterans Village, has used the Framing Hope Project to renovate and refurbish an old motel at 1150 Las Vegas Blvd. South into state-of-the-art housing for veterans trying to get back on their feet.

“I was using the in-store program, and I made a few introductions, and that got the ball rolling on the warehouse project,” Stalk said. “I’ve already begun using the warehouse to get stuff to work on projects at Veterans Village.”

Weiss said the products at the warehouse come from Home Depot, and the local Framing Hope site hopes to expand the selection of merchandise soon. The products are taken out of the store’s regular stock for a number of reasons.

“Sometimes they have just a single pallet of a product, and when it gets down to the last few items, they ship it to us to make room for a different product,” Weiss said. “Sometimes it’s just that the packaging is banged up.”

He is compiling a list of the products that the warehouse has in stock to post them online. The products range from power tools to flooring and pipes to food-seasoning sets.

“People are surprised to see the seasoning sets here,” Weiss said. “They were being sold next to the new barbecue grills.”

The warehouse is staffed by what Weiss jokingly calls “one and a half veterans.” Weiss, who served in the National Guard, is a full-time employee, and Jim Hutchison, who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, is part-time.

“We also have Matt Starr, a volunteer form Vista AmeriCorps helping out now,” Weiss said. “There’s also the guys in the training program.”

Framing Hope is training six veterans at a time in six-week programs. Among the skills the trainees learn is how to operate cash registers and obtain a forklift certification with the goal of being hired by Home Depot or another big-box store.

“They taught me how to drive the forklift,” Riley said. “I’m a certified forklift operator now.”

The warehouse also helps veterans by selling products to them at the discounted prices offered to charities.

“They can be veterans, active military or even family of military,” Weiss said. “We have a lot of people who are deployed, and their families are still here in town, trying to make ends meet and keep their home in good shape.”

The warehouse often has decor items available.

“We usually have flooring and rugs,” Riley said. “Just because you’re low-income doesn’t mean you have to live in a dumpy place.”

The fledgling branch of the charity is looking to expand by adding more vendors and approved charities.

“We’re still trying to get the word out,” Riley said. “This is a great resource that can help a lot of people. We want to make that happen.”

For more information, visit helpsonv.org or call 702-369-4357.

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 702-380-4532.