HomeAid Northern Virginia and Builder Captain Richmond American Homes are excited to kick off a unique project this winter, as we finalize plans and go through the permitting process for the construction of a climate-controlled structure for donations and an ADA access ramp for The Closet of Greater Herndon, a nonprofit thrift shop in the heart of historic downtown Herndon.
“This is a different project than perhaps what is ‘typical’ for our work with HomeAid,” said Jack Gallagher, division president, Mid-Atlantic region, for Richmond American Homes. “But The Closet is a partner organization in need of construction support, and their general mission is well aligned with the same community we serve. By helping streamline their ability to improve the lives of others through our project, we’re also contributing and giving back to the community at large. We’re helping them help others, and we’re improving conditions for the volunteers who are so integral to any successful nonprofit.”
On paper, the project is a 600 square foot structure that will cover the facility’s donation area, which is currently an uncovered, unprotected area behind the building where citizens drop off their donations and where volunteers sort, tag, and work to bring donations inside to the retail shop. Richmond American will also install climate control features, such as heat and ceiling fans, for the donation area and replace a stairwell and handicapped ramp so that the retail area will be ADA compliant for the first time since its opening.
In reality, the project will be game-changing.
“I started working here two years ago,” said Pat Rhoads, manager of The Closet, and ever since then, I’ve noticed the men and women out back, sorting through our donations and working in deplorable conditions of rain, snow, ice, heat, and bitter cold. We don’t have sufficient space inside to handle all of the items already organized for retail as well as all the donations that come in every day, so we rely on our outdoor receiving area. But without cover, it also means that sometimes, really nice donations get ruined by the weather if we can’t get them inside fast enough, and that feels sickening. We want our community to know that we’re putting their donations to their best use, and we want our volunteers to have comfortable, safe space in which to work. This project will achieve both goals, in addition to just looking a whole lot nicer!
“The architect has made such an aesthetically pleasing design,” she added, “and we’ll be able to slide panels closed in the winter, open them in the summer, and have heat and fans to help us regulate the temperature. Donations will be safe from the elements. This little shop has really blossomed, and our community loves it and depends on it. We are so excited about this project – it will be so fabulous and really bring us to the next level. We can’t wait!”
Richmond American Homes hopes to have the project completed by February.
The Closet was founded in 1974 by a handful of churches to assist low-income families by selling used clothing at nominal prices. Over the years, the shop has expanded to also include household necessities and dedicates its profits to supporting other community programs, such as Cornerstones, Fellowship Square, the Herndon-Reston FISH, Meridians Recovery, Mobile Hope of Loudoun, South Lakes High School PTSA Food Pantry, and Herndon Woman’s Club.