Your generosity helps The Storehouse of World Vision thrive.

For years, I have driven by this church.

It’s one that reminds me of the old “Little House on the Prairie” schoolhouse church. Yes, I was an avid “Little House on the Prairie” viewer as a kid.

As long as I can remember, the church has been vacant. That all changed in recent times. The old schoolhouse church is up and running again. I know that because I read its marquee every time I drive by it.

A few months ago, a couple lines on the sign caught my eye. The church was offering a meal and laundry service to those in need. About a month ago, a new service was offered on the marquee - a clothes pantry.

I know other churches and organizations offer these same types of services. My church has a single mothers club. Seeing those types of services spelled out really resonate with me. This church is making a difference.

An organization tied into our industry makes a big difference as well.

Many of you probably know of The Storehouse of World Vision program. If you were at KBIS 2012 in Chicago and attended the organization’s Crystal Vision breakfast, you really know what I’m talking about.

The Storehouse offers building materials to low-income housing agencies and organizations in the areas it serves for a nominal handling fee. The materials are donated to The Storehouse by building material manufacturers and wholesalers, including many in the plumbing industry.

The Storehouse has warehouses in New York, Chicago, Dallas, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Los Angeles, the Seattle-Tacoma area and West Virginia. I toured The Storehouse’s Chicago warehouse recently and came away with an even greater appreciation for what the organization does.

As The Storehouse of World Vision Corporate Relations Director Efrain Perez pointed out to me during the tour (you can see my video interview with Perez in Supply House Times’ Video Spotlight section), the building materials section of the warehouse is what drives the program through the generation of IRS-allowable cost-recovery fees.

For example, if someone from a nonprofit or an individual sponsored by a nonprofit goes into The Storehouse and selects a faucet from the building materials section, there is a minor charge for that item.

“The donation of building materials by manufacturers and distributors is the backbone that enables the rest of it to take place,” Perez told me. “The building materials create the economic engine that helps the rest of our programs function. The plumbing industry is very important to us. The more products and the more variety we have, the more we are able to generate cost-recovery fees that give us the ability to run a professional warehouse with staff and be able to provide more programs in the communities.”

The Storehouse isn’t just about faucets, toilets and front doors. One particular section I walked through in the Chicago warehouse was loaded with day-to-day essentials such as toiletries. Children’s shoes also were in abundance.  There’s a section dedicated to school supplies where local teachers can come in on a scheduled basis and stock up their classrooms.

Those essentials departments - family fundamentals, clothing and the teacher resource - do not charge fees.

The Storehouse also has a key presence in community projects. Those at the Crystal Vision breakfast heard the story of the retrofitting of the home of a Chicago woman deployed overseas. She was scheduled to return in May to a big surprise.

Perez has been busy the past few months at the various buying group meetings and trade shows familiarizing even more people with The Storehouse concept. He mentioned the organization recently expanded its relationship with HD Supply.

Sometimes we get caught up in numbers, especially when talking about the economy. That church marquee made me realize those numbers have real-life consequences that affect real people in need of real help.

It’s great to see an organization right in our industry’s backyard stepping to the plate and knocking one out of the park for those in need. And many of you, through your generosity, are playing a role in that success.

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