Some much-needed space

CALUMET – The New Beginnings Angel Mission Free Store needed some space to store its 1,200 VHS tapes in its new location on Fifth Street in Calumet, so Co-Director Terry Bazin turned to the Kiwanis Club of the Copper Country for help.

Bazin said when a member of the Kiwanis learned of the store’s need for shelves, she didn’t even have to ask for help.

“It was just offered to us,” Bazin said.

Now in its sixth location in Calumet, the Angel Mission Free Store was started by the late Becky Koivu in her basement, Bazin said. Each time it moved, it was into a larger location. After being in the former Copper Country Associated Artists location on Fifth Street for about a year, at the beginning of January it was moved across the street to a larger space formerly occupied by Dawn’s Creations, which Bazin said has three times as much available space.

Members of the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office work release program helped with the move of the Free Store, which took about six hours, Bazin said.

“They’ve been wonderful,” Bazin said of the work release helpers.

The purpose of the Angel Mission is to offer free of charge clothing and household items to people who may be in financial difficulties. The organization has a food pantry in the store, also.

Bazin said she wasn’t looking for anything special to store the VHS tapes, which are part of a lending library.

“We just wanted some shelves on the walls,” she said.

The group who installed the shelves for the tapes is called the Nail Benders, according to KCCC member Richard Brooks.

“We’re a sub group of the Kiwanis Club,” he said.

Nail Benders started about 25 years ago to build wheelchair ramps for houses.

“That’s pretty much all we do,” he said.

The group built 15 ramps in 2012, Brooks said.

The Nail Benders installed 70 to 80 linear feet of shelving for the VHS tapes in the Free Store in about two hours, Brooks said.

He would like to have 15 to 20 people in the Nail Benders, Brooks said, but it’s less than that, now.

“We’re down to eight or 10 people,” he said. “If we don’t get some more help, we may have to curtail the operation.”

Not all of the Nail Benders are Kiwanis members, Brooks said. To volunteer for the group, call Brooks at 906-201-0849.

Only one ramp is scheduled to be built so far this year, Brooks said, but that may be due to the current economic situation.

“The customer has to come up with the funding (for ramp materials),” he said.

It costs about $20 an inch to build a ramp, Brooks said.