Inside the headquarters of Storehouse Ministries, men, women and children rushed through the open warehouse with their lists in hand.
They had 15 minutes to pick out the items they needed. Some went to the furniture, inspecting gently used couches or small desks where their children could do their homework.
Others picked through bins of soap, shampoo, razors and deodorant. A few started picking up jackets and sweaters before winter set in.
Residents had been waiting more than one hour for the doors to open. Once it was their turn to shop, they had a rigid time limit to pick up the things they needed.
“Most food pantries don’t give those sort of things out. Even if people go to a pantry for food assistance, they’re not getting this type of stuff,” organizer Paula Mills said. “But the truth is we’re running out of stuff.”
Storehouse Ministries was created to help needy families with everything from furniture to clothing to hygiene items. Organizers focused on the items that government assistance and local food pantries don’t provide — mattresses, toothbrushes, diapers, blankets.
Residents in need can pick up toys and books for their children or used cribs for an infant to sleep in. Basic needs such as toilet paper and feminine hygiene products are some of the most requested.
“It just comes in and goes out. Our whole purpose is to be a conduit so that people who have items to donate can give them us and get them to people who need it,” Mills said. “It’s all part of God’s economy. It belongs to him anyway, and it just flows through us.”