Richmond Toolbank building community relationships one project at a time

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 3:12 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 4:26 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -For the past three years, you could catch Warren Aldrich at the Richmond Toolbank drilling screws and giving his time back to the community.

“This is a tremendous part of my week. Every week I come here. I get to use my hands. I get to talk to people and help them in different ways,” said Aldrich.

Recently, you would have caught him building dog houses for Ring Dog Rescue, a non-profit that specializes in rescuing Pitbull and Pitbull mix dog breeds.

A troubling trend has been developing in Central Virginia, more and more animals get left outside during severe weather.

In many cases, those animals don’t survive.

Now The Richmond Toolbank is fighting back.

Along with Warren, more than 100 volunteers came out to help.

Most feel the impact of giving back to the community and getting their hands dirty.

“I think they come away feeling very fulfilled,” said Aldrich. “They know they are doing something for the community, but they are also doing something for themselves,” said Aldrich.

The Toolbank is a resource for anyone in the community. They partner with charitable organizations and provide the tools and equipment for their most ambitious goals.

They also loan out their tools to the public for only 3% of the retail cost, saving any organization hundreds to millions in tools and storage costs.

Jamie Frielang, one of the non-profit’s managers, says Ring Dog Rescue became their focus for March because of how crazy the elements can be in Virginia, especially for a dog left outside for hours on end.

“Two of my colleagues here worked really, really closely with Ring Dog Rescue to really develop a dog house that we could construct that would do well in Virginia, especially when it comes with all the wild elements we get here,” said Frielang. “So they basically built it from the ground up.”

After three weeks, the Richmond Toolbank was able to surpass its goal of 60 dog houses and was able to make over 72. They’ll now go to Ring Dog Rescue to help animals in need.

Adam Phlegar, the program and warehouse manager, helped design these dog houses.

“This wouldn’t have happened without the volunteers,” said Phlegar. “This wouldn’t have happened without teams coming in like you see behind me and being able to conquer it. So we’re just a small part of it. The Tool Bank that is, but the volunteers out there are making it happen.”

He’s also helped with the outdoor furniture they’ve built for Richmond Parks and Rec and city schools.

Phlegar says this program is slightly different because it attracts many people from different backgrounds.

“We are just bringing in people from different paths in Richmond, which is really unique when it comes to volunteer work,” said Frielang.