Business reaches new heights
Published 9:27 pm Thursday, January 28, 2016
James Holmes and his family recently left homelessness behind and were able to get a place to live, but there was just one problem: They didn’t have much to put in it.
The worst part was that his two children were sleeping on the floor.
“We looked a lot of different places,” Holmes said about the search for beds. “We just couldn’t afford them.”
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Fortunately, a friend of his told him about Connie Quash and the Constant Heights Distribution Center, located on Holland Road. Quash collects donations from individuals as well as government surplus and other useful items and gives them to people in need.
“She was a big help,” Holmes said of Quash. “She gave us food. She’s a real nice lady.”
Quash started the nonprofit in 2013. It operated first out of the old Food Lion on White Marsh Road and then moved to the old Food Lion on Holland Road, behind George’s Steak House.
“There’s not a lot of agencies that do what we are doing,” Quash said.
Quash says she got the idea for what she’s doing from God.
“I kept hearing in my head, ‘surplus,’” she said.
She began calling around for donations and has seen them come from a variety of sources, including the federal government, health care facilities and private individuals.
The warehouse stores all sorts of furniture, large kitchen appliances including refrigerators, stoves and microwaves, kitchen implements, televisions, décor, clothing and more.
“These items don’t need to go to anybody’s garbage,” Quash said.
She works with social services agencies throughout Hampton Roads, as well as organizations like ForKids and the Genieve Shelter and a number of churches. The agencies know they can refer anybody in need to Quash, and she will take care of them. People sometimes hear through word of mouth and come in without having been referred.
“We have taken care of over a thousand families,” she said.
The business usually helps those who have had a fire or are transitioning out of homelessness, but anyone in need is welcome.
Quash said a local man donates his truck to haul the donations around. She does request a donation of $25 for delivery to cover gas.
“It’s been hard to stay in business,” said Quash, who doesn’t pay herself and keeps a bare-bones staff. “Our lights are used very sparingly, because we can’t afford the overhead. The funds that we get maintains the building and the staff.”
But Quash, who is retired, said she is getting paid in a way that is more rewarding than money.
“When someone literally cries on your shoulder because you helped them out, that’s enough,” she said, recalling one mother who told her, “Because of you, my baby no longer sleeps on the floor.”
“To me, that’s rewarding,” Quash said.
The center at 1242 Holland Road is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 809-5656 or 334-6934 for more information.