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Scrapping it forward
Barbara Reed, a homeschooling mom with seven children, needed a refrigerator. Hers was on its last legs and was missing shelves. But money was tight because the family gets by on one income. Her husband, Billy, brings in enough to pay the bills but we dont have a lot of extra, she said.
One day recently, Reed was on Facebook and saw a post from Ron Boomer Streit, owner of Westside Metal Recycling, a Hillsboro business, and he was offering to help those in need. She emailed Streit and asked if she could be added to his list for a refrigerator.
Streit not only found a refrigerator for the family, he refused any money for it and personally delivered the appliance.
I think it is the truest form of recycling to repurpose something, he said. In my business, I emphasize the word recycling.
Streits quest to help those who are in need began with a dryer that a friend offered to give him for his recycling business. He didnt want to scrap a working machine, so he posted it on his personal Facebook page, and within moments had received about 30 responses.
I thought, there are a lot of people out there struggling, just like me, he recalled.
Although many scrap metal businesses sell appliances in working condition as a way to add to the companys bottom line, Westside Recycling decided to invest in the community.
Since he began repurposing as well as recycling, Streit has given away 46 appliances in the past 10 months. While he admits that a couple of the people he has given them to took advantage of him by subsequently putting the gift appliances up for sale, he chooses to concentrate on those who are appreciative.
He has a few partners in the effort, and would love to have more. Real estate broker Lauren Inquinta with PDX Home Group LLC, often provides leads and appliances to Streit from homes that are being updated. Streit said Inquintas assistance has reaffirmed his mission.
While many give because they have excess, Streit admitted he is struggling as much as those he helps some times. But he follows the example of his father, Ron Streit, owner of Ron Streit Masonry.
My father was a prominent businessman in Hillsboro. At Christmas, we would load up the work truck with hams and turkeys and hand them out, he said. He compared his efforts to the theme of the movie Pay It Forward, in which a young boy teaches that doing things for others creates a cycle of giving that returns to the giver.
For example, when Streits work truck was disabled, a local business offered him a truck to use while he looked for a replacement.
Although his business is relatively new, he hopes people will realize that it is a real business, run by an honest person who wants his company not only to provide for him and his child, but also for those in the community. Although he has not yet created a 501(c)3, hes considering the idea. He would also like to spread the concept across the nation in his industry, which he acknowledges does not generally have a great reputation.
Streit advertises the items he has for donation on local Facebook sale and giveaway sites to keep costs low. His trailer has signage about the donation service. Those who need scrap hauled, need an appliance, or would like to donate an appliance can contact Streit at 503-330-9695.
Postings on Facebook
Streits Facebook posts explain that he serves those who are unemployed, single parents, elderly or veterans. He qualifies those he is providing appliances to by asking personal questions, but he tells the recipients why he is asking.
I want to be sure these appliances are really going to those with a need, he explained.
He attempts to be cognizant that some of those he serves are victims of domestic violence. In those cases, he takes a female with him for the delivery. There is no charge for the appliances or for the delivery.
Barbara Reed is happy to spread the word about Streit, his scrap metal business and his community mission.
I think it is really important to get the word out that he is honest and he does what he says he is doing, Reed said. He is really trying to help people.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT