At Community Helping Hands, we provide help for emergency clothing, household items, and furniture needs by giving those in need vouchers to use in our stores. Vouchers are NOT available for appliances. We only have one location, so if you are outside Chautauqua County you will need to check with another charity in your area for assistance.
Those in need of assistance must first receive a written referral from a social service agency, charitable agency, or local church. This should be faxed or sent to us before scheduling your appointment with the office (716) 487-1488.
If you are in need of clothing, you do not need a written referral, but photo ID is necessary. Walk-ins for CLOTHING ONLY are FRIDAYS 10:30am-11:30am and 1pm-3pm.
Referral Application and General Information
Our stores are open to the general public at the above-mentioned hours and no referral is required. Referral Interviews are scheduled for clients who do not have the financial resources to purchase the merchandise in our facility and desire financial discounts or vouchers on our already economically priced essential merchandise. The client must bring a referral from a church, charitable organization or social service organizations in order to receive a voucher for furniture or household items. Voucher for clothing may be a self referral.
Referral Financial Donations:
Referral agencies or churches are encouraged to make a financial contribution on a client by client basis in order to assist them with paying for the items they are requesting we provide to their clients.
All clients who go through the referral process will be encouraged to volunteer if possible. If they become a volunteer, they will be entitled to participate in our various programs that allow them to earn dollars or points to spend for additional merchandise.
Referral Interview Times: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Please allow a minimum of 1 hour from your scheduled appointment time plus additional time to visit stores. Please bring picture ID.
The referral application should be completed in full and signed in the appropriate locations by the referral agency representative and the client. Hopefully, the referral agency will provide assistance in filling out this information and should list specific items needed by the client. Walk-in appointments are usually not accepted – except in the case of an emergency or if there has been an unexpected cancellation.
All clothing, household goods, and furniture are distributed on a first come, first serve basis. All clients must make their own arrangements for pick up and delivery of their goods.
- The products in our facility have been donated to us for redistribution to those in need.
- We are a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, however, we still have overhead costs that include payroll, insurance, utilities, transportation, etc. Due to this fact, we use the income from our sales to cover our overhead – which is less than 10% of our services provided.
- In order to fulfill our mission of providing a hand up, we feel that it is very important that a fair value be put on all items so that the clients receiving the goods value these provisions and can honestly say they have purchased these items at a proper monetary cost or through their volunteer work.
- Our organization is run by the volunteers, government-assigned workers, and our limited paid staff. It is our desire to provide additional employment opportunities and any surplus funds from the sales of our goods are used to provide such opportunities.
- Please visit our website at www.thegatewaycenter.org for other services that are provided in our building.
We have numerous showrooms throughout our facility. The Depot room contains clothing, household goods, books, toys, etc.
The Showrooms contain furniture, appliances, and other household goods.
All items in the Depot and Showrooms are priced – to the best of our ability – at what any individual in our community would pay at a normal household or yard sale. By doing this, the general public is encouraged to purchase items in our facility in order to support our charitable work and help us meet our expenses.
If the products priced are not affordable because of an economic need or special circumstance, the client and referring agency may fill out a referral form and fax it to us in advance so the client can call in to schedule an appointment. Referral agencies should be specific in listing the needs of the client. Community Helping Hands can only fill request for the entered items.
We can provide vouchers for items in our stores; however, vouchers will apply to essential items only. No vouchers will apply to non-essential items such as TVs, VCRs, hutches, antiques, or any other item that we deem as non-essential. It should be noted that there are some items that are consistently out of stock (such as beds, dressers). We make every effort to meet people’s needs but can not always do so.
The voucher will be for the Showrooms and/or The Depot and are only valid for 90-days.
If the client asks for numerous items, they will be given a dollar amount to spend in our Showrooms and the Depot based upon your need and the number of people in your household.
A running balance of the amount remaining on the voucher will be written in by the store clerk and kept in file in the Depot or Showroom.
Clients may apply every 90 days for an additional referral if there is an additional need. The office will keep a record of all referrals, vouchers, and goods and services provided. This information will be entered into a data base and shared with other agencies in our community after receiving the client’s written authorization to do so by signing our Charity Tracker Release Form. Our goal is to help those in need and also, at the same time, not duplicate services.
ALL CLIENTS WHO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE VOUCHERS OFFERED THROUGH THE REFERRAL PROCESS ARE ASKED TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING IN SOME MANNER, IF POSSIBLE.
Our inventory changes every hour and there is simply no way we can keep track of what we currently have on hand. It is solely the client’s responsibility to check back by visiting the stores as we cannot check to see what we currently have in stock. Even if we did this, the item might be gone before you return.
On occasion, there may be special exceptions to this rule for medical equipment or medical appliances.