The Niagara Warehouse of Hope was created as a way to share our good fortune with the poorest of the poor. Our motto: “Helping People Help Themselves” speaks to our desire to help with a leg up, rather than a hand out.
Founded in 1989, by the late Ted van der Zalm Sr., good used items were gathered and stored in the family’s garage, for shipment to Tanzania. As the operation grew, so did the need for space.
During the weekend of July 1, 1990 the present building at 46 Broadway, St Catharines, was erected with all volunteer tradesmen and labour and mostly donated materials.
Today, our focus is on shipping surplus — but still useful — school and hospital supplies to the developing countries. The many items, from computers, desks and books, to hospital beds, wheelchairs and linens, eyeglasses, etc., are shipped to make work easier in poor countries.
Small in-house projects include calibrating used eyeglasses, women groups sewing baby layettes for distribution to needy mothers, and other volunteers checking and repairing computers for shipping.
Suppliers are area school boards, hospitals, nursing homes, construction businesses and individuals.
Our financial support comes mainly from Niagara area service clubs, churches, individuals and fundraisers.
Niagara Warehouse of Hope has one outreach project: Project Harvest focuses on sweat-hose irrigation systems and community gardens in Guatemala
A clinic in Dominican Republic and a school and orphanage construction project in Uganda are funded and managed by private sponsors and supported by the Warehouse through flow-through funding.
An earlier outreach project, Wells of Hope, became so large and successful that it now has its own charitable status.
The Niagara Warehouse of Hope ships only to viable charities with reputable contacts. Occasionally, a local donor will plan a shipment of powdered milk, beans, or other foodstuffs. The Warehouse will oblige with the correct paperwork and expedite the shipping.
Other organizations with dreams of gathering goods and shipping a container can look to the Warehouse for guidance and organizing.
As we have grown, from one container a year to 15 or more, so has the need in the developing world. It is our hope and dream to continue to Help People Help Themselves and improve the world in our small way as best as we know how.