Volunteers of America still struggling to get donations more than a year after warehouse fire

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A massive fire back on January 3rd last year at the main warehouse for Volunteers of America caused the organization to lose thousands of donations. 

Today, they still are struggling to fill that warehouse that helps so many. 

Typically the warehouse is stocked at 100 percent. Right now, it’s about 5 percent full. 

Stephanie Aubill, the marketing and communications manager for Volunteers of America, says, “The warehouse serves as our main hub for all of the thrift stores across the greater Columbus area and even some in the Cleveland area as well.”

Aubill says last year’s fire was devastating. 

“There were tears, absolutely, from a number of staff. The entire building was burnt down, everything inside was lost and just a few weeks ago we finally were able to open the new warehouse that’s been rebuilt on top of where the old one stood.”

She says around 200,000 pounds of donations were burned in the fire along with three trucks. 

Close to $1 million worth of revenue was also lost, putting the VoA behind in their operations. 

“The really unfortunate thing (is), proceeds from our thrift stores go directly to our programs that help homeless veterans, homeless families and homeless individuals so having that huge affect and all that money lost really affected us in the community as well.”

Cassie Grimmett and her grandmother shop at this thrift store often and are grateful for donations brought here because it helps them save a lot of money.

“There’s a lot of nice stuff you could get for a really good price new or used,” Grimmett said. “That’s all they do is take donations so it helps a lot for anyone who needs it.”

Volunteers of America are asking for the public’s help with donations as the summer season is their busiest time of the year next to the holidays.

“Anything you can think of in your house that maybe your thinking of not using anymore we will absolutely take, put in our thrift stores and use the proceeds that go directly back to the community,” Aubill said. 

You can help by donating – https://www.voago.org/
To request a pickup- https://www.voago.org/donatemystuff

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