When Douglas Evans was looking for more space, he said Denver storage units at Public Storage were the most affordable way he could find to store bulky donations between deliveries.
Armchair Samaritan, a nonprofit Evans started in 2016, picks up old furniture and household items for free from donors. He stores them at a Denver Public Storage until he sells them at a very low cost to needy neighbors, and delivers them at no cost.
“People who receive the furniture are so overly grateful and thankful,” he said. “Our organization is like a Salvation Army or Goodwill – except without all the corporate limitations. I can help people as much as I want by moving furniture into their homes and setting up appliances, when they need help.”
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After Evans and his family bought their first home, he found himself with a handful of leftover large furniture that he either replaced or didn’t have room for.
“I put them on Craigslist for cheap, and I offered free delivery,” he said. “When I delivered them, I found that they were going to the people in our community who needed them the most.”
He delivered his old stove to a woman who had been living without one for months. She was so happy that she hugged Evans and cried over an appliance that many others take for granted.
“It really touched my heart, and I realized the need for items that are expensive, when new, and difficult to move,” Evans said.
He also took a mattress to a family who lost all of their possessions in a fire.
“I started picking up free furniture and rehoming it to people who needed it as a hobby,” he said. “After a year, I realized it could grow. So, I quit my job and started a nonprofit and helping people in my community fulltime.”
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As Evans ramped up his efforts, he has more donations than ever and no room to keep them. Like many Coloradans, he turned to his local Public Storage for affordable storage near Denver.
“Originally, I planned on getting a warehouse space,” he said. “But commercial real estate is so expensive, and I would have had thousands of dollars in overhead costs. So I got a storage space, which I thought would be temporary, but it’s been so easy. It’s saved me a lot of money, and everyone at the facility is great.”
And the Public Storage managers at his location feel the same about Evans, who stops by the facility multiple times a day.
“He’s an amazing guy who’s very upbeat,” said Lu, a Public Storage manager. “He’s always friendly, and he always help out other tenants out if they need it.”
Although Evans primarily works with bulky, hard-to-move items, many people also want to donate smaller household appliances. So he’s started working with another organization to ship the smaller items overseas.
“I was always turning people down with smaller items, so I started working with a charity that sends donations to Africa,” he said.
Together, the charities were able to fill a 40-foot trailer with small household appliances and sent it overseas, Evans said.
If you’re in the Denver Metro area and interested in donating your old household goods, check out the Armchair Samaritan website and reach out to Evans on the contact page.
Photos courtesy of Douglas Evans.