November 2013
Forklift Fan-Mail








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Green Gift Fair starts this weekend!
FREE Workshops & Demonstrations by Local Artists
An Eco-Outlet for Artists Who See the Beauty of Reuse
Come celebrate our 8th Birthday!
Upcycle Your Life Health Expo Was a Huge Success
Local Business Chooses to Donate, Not Dump
Save the date: Green Friday & Small Business Saturday
Now Hiring for New Positions
SCRAP-DC's DIY Classes
Share Your Skills with Other Forklift Fans
Numerous November Sales


You voted. You told your friends about us, and they voted. And now, the Washington Post Express has named Community Forklift the Best Vintage Store of 2013! Not only that, but your votes helped the 'Lift get to 3rd place for Best Home Store.



 Yowza! This is amazing free publicity for our cause. Already, we've seen a bunch of new folks stopping by to donate building materials and cool vintage stuff. So, we just want to say:


THANK YOU SO MUCH -- you guys are awesome!!!


Sincerely, the Community Forklifters

(Aderyn, Alex, Angela, Anibal, Anthony, Bea, Chris, Dan, Daniel, Dave, Dagur, Deb, Debby, Doug, Elizabeth, Grayson, Imara, John Baba, Jon, Josh, Keith H., Keith L., Kitty, LaWanda, Lisa, Matt, Melissa, Nancy, Raymond, Rob, Robert, Ruthie, Shenna, Sommie, Sue, Terry, Tiffany, Tom, Vee, and Zoe)


Read on for all the latest news!


Our 5th Annual Green Gift Fair starts this weekend!



Open Daily through November and December!


  • Metalwork 
  • Jewelry
  • Textiles and Clothing
  • Eco-friendly Beauty Care
  • Stained Glass Mosaics 
  • Holiday crafts
  • Stationery and Cards 
  • Woodcraft
  • Soaps and Candles 
  • Toys and Baby Gear
  • Housewares
  • and many more! 



We know you're busy trying to finish up your home improvement projects before winter arrives -- but chance are, you've got some holiday shopping to do too!  The Forklift has got you covered.


We've gathered dozens of the area's most creative artists and crafters to exhibit at our Green Gift Fair.  All gifts are made with reclaimed, refurbished, or other eco-friendly materials!    


These cool handmade gifts will be available for sale here every day in November and December (except, of course, when we are closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day).  And keep an eye on our calendar in the coming weeks -- many artists will be offering free how-to workshops and demonstrations!





Join Community Forklift's
Green Gift Fair Artists
as they demonstrate and share their skills throughout November & December!




Saturday November 2: 1pm
Container Gardens/Terrariums Gardens

Presented by Joyce Brown of JADE "Life"

Go Green!  Grow Your Own Container Gardens: Vegetables, Herbs, Aroma Therapy.  Save Money to grow your own gardens in Containers.  Therapeutic  Fun for the whole family...

Learn how to put together and maintain a Container Garden, and learn about the health benefits to eating healthy and growing your own container gardens!

Saturday November 9: 1pm
Up-cycled Textile Wall Art

Presented by Jamie Langhoff of Seeing in Fabric  

Fabric scraps and old clothing can be transformed into fun, vibrant, beautiful and surreal works of art that look like paintings! Attendees are encouraged to bring their own unwanted fabric scraps or clothing that the artist will incorporate into the artwork made during the demo. Any donations to the artist will be greatly appreciated.  Donors will have the opportunity to suggest a title for artwork featuring their scraps, and receive an email photo of the completed artwork (with no expectation to purchase).


Sunday November 10: 1pm
Presented by Jill Dickens of Evolve Skin LLC  

Jill from Evolve Skin will demonstrate how to make a simple detoxifying salt scrub for the body.  Attendees should bring a small mason jar if they would like to go home with a sample.



Saturday November 16: 3pm
Linda from Elements of Nature will be teaching about how to use old calendars and windows to decoupage beautiful art, including signs you can use to decorate & label plantings in your garden!


More workshops to come!
Please check our calendar often for updates!

Forklift's Green Gift Fair an Eco-Outlet for Artists Who See the Beauty of Reuse

Charmaine Jones transformed a drab chair purchased at Community Forklift into a garden spot. This and pieces dressed up by artists at from Art Enables are part of the Forklift's Green Gift Fair beginning Nov. 1.


By Elizabeth McGowan


Where others saw a dull and dormant chair,  Charmaine Jones imagined a four-legged garden. That verdant vision prompted the 28-year-old artist to cover every square inch of its exposed wood with a botanical bounty of roses, tulips, sunflowers and vines.


"It just kind of popped into my head," Jones says about her garden chair idea while seated at her studio space at Art Enables in Northeast Washington, D.C. "Painting with all of those colors makes me happy." 


Charmaine Jones painted "Night Blossoms" on a cabinet door salvaged by Art Enables at Community Forklift. (PHOTO CREDIT: Art Enables)

The resurrected chair will be returning "home" as one of hundreds of handmade items that local crafters and artists will be selling from Nov. 1 through Dec. 29 at Community Forklift's fifth annual Green Gift Fair.  


Art Enables, a studio and gallery for emerging artists with developmental disabilities, is one of 35 organizations and individuals exhibiting in the Fair.


In addition to green-themed paintings, the fair will feature an assortment of eco-friendly and affordable clothing, metalwork, woodcrafts, toys, baby gear, beauty care products, candles, greeting cards, housewares and stained glass mosaics. Prices start as low as $1.  


Staffers at Art Enables often comb the Forklift's aisles for finds that encourage their cadre of 33 artists to experiment with new media. Chairs, cabinet doors, scrap wood, ceramic tiles and glass light shades are among the Forklift finds that allow the artists to transform the forlorn to the fanciful-and make some money selling their repurposed results.  


"For art folks, there are only so many times you can paint on canvas or draw on a piece of paper," says Beth Baldwin, arts coordinator at Art Enables, who discovered the Forklift years ago as a props specialist for the Shakespeare Theatre Company. "Like any artist, you can fall into a rut, so working with something different is a good way to open up creativity."


Mary Liniger, executive director at Art Enables, is used to fielding calls from Baldwin and other staffers seeking permission to "buy something really cool they just found at the Forklift." She always gives them the green light, she says, because everything is so reasonably priced and nothing they carry back to the art studio at 2204 Rhode Island Ave. NE ever seems to go to waste.


Maurice "Mo" Higgs's creates his signature "hairy eyeball motif" on salvaged cabinet doors and pretty much any other surface available.

"What I like about Community Forklift is that it's so random," Baldwin says. "It can be a challenge to find what I need but it keeps me constantly problem solving."


Aley Hasson, gallery and outreach assistant for Art Enables, is thrilled that the Forklift selected her organization to participate in this year's Green Gift Fair. It's the first year Art Enables submitted an application.


"We're always looking for new venues," Hasson says about raising her nonprofit's profile. "It's about getting our name out there so more people know what our artists are doing in here."


The Art Enables booth at the Green Gift Fair will showcase art from several artists who use reclaimed materials. For instance, it also will feature flower-themed paintings that Jones has completed on cabinet doors salvaged from the Forklift. Jones, one of the youngest artists at Art Enables, will be joined by the nonprofit's eldest artist, Maurice "Mo" Higgs. The cheerful and prolific 77-year-old wears down dozens of colored pencils daily while drawing renditions of his "hairy eyeball motif" on paper, wood scraps or about any other available surface.


This year's call for original artwork incorporating the themes of recycling, sustainable living and environmental awareness attracted more responses than in the previous four years, so it will be the largest Green Gift Fair yet. Forklift staffers selected the top 35 applications from a field of 48.


What are some of these artists doing? For starters, they're turning beeswax into candles, transforming leftover metal parts into lamps, creating clothing from thrift-store finds, making painting-like landscapes and cityscapes from fabric scraps, handcrafting soaps and repurposing worn out belts and other leather goods into wearable art.



Keep reading this article on our blog!


Community Forklift Turns 8!


We opened our doors back in November 17, 2005, and thanks to you wonderful Forklift Fans, we quickly began turning the region's waste into a valuable resource stream.  


In just 8 years, we've had over 133,000 transactions, and donated approximately $100,000 of materials directly to nonprofits and families in need.  By keeping tons of materials from going to the landfill each year, countless households and small businesses have been able to afford repairs - and we've created 40 green jobs!  Not only that, but the low-cost materials have allowed thousands of tradespeople to attract clients even during tough economic times.


We'll be celebrating our 8th Birthday on Sunday, Nov. 17th with a cake and hot cider here in the warehouse.  We hope you'll drop by and share your stories - what was it like when you first came here? What projects have you built with 'Lift materials?  Also...


Please consider giving Community Forklift
a birthday gift of $8, $80, or more. 

Your financial support will help us continue our work in the years to come! With your gift, we can keep lifting up local communities, creating green jobs, making repairs affordable, and providing public education about reuse and sustainable living.  

To make a secure online, tax-deductible donation, click the button below to donate through Paypal, major credit card, or directly from your bank account.


OR, you can write a check. Please make it out to Sustainable Community Initiatives, and write "Community Forklift" in the memo line.  Checks should be mailed to:  Community Forklift, 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston MD, 20781.  Please call Nancy Meyer, our Chief Operating Officer, at 301-985-5180 with any questions or concerns.  Thanks so much!



A huge THANK YOU to all of our partners! 

Upcycle Your Life:

A Community Expo 

Linking Food to Health



Thanks to our wonderful community partners, on October 19th we were able to offer a food distribution of fresh produce, health screenings, free interactive workshops and information on all kinds of local resources and services available to residents in our community. We had over 500 people attend, and were able to distribute food to 200 of our neighbors! 



Priority Partners  

provides low and no-cost health care services for qualified Maryland residents.  For more info visit: or call (410) 762-5342



Capital Area Food Bank

distributes food to hunger relief organizations in the DC area. They also educate, empower and enlighten the community on hunger and nutrition issues.  For more info visit: or call (202) 644-9800



End Time Harvest Ministries

BUILDS and EMPOWERS youth leaders to IMPACT the Health and Wealth of the Ports Towns and Prince George's County by equipping youth with educational, social and economic life skills. For more info visit: or call (301) 220-4333


Mrs. Tahiti McNair is a certified chef with extensive experience in the culinary field.  She has extensive expertise in natural and organic foods as well as preparation of gluten free and other foods for consumers with food allergies.  All our Forklift Fans were so impressed with Chef McNair's delicious food! 
Opening Soon:  
2028 Rhode Island Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20018
Check out this article about their grand opening in NE DC!  

Dr. Larry F. McNair's General Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
provides affordable world class treatment for all your dental needs! 
SHINE Massage and Wellness Studio
provides therapeutic massage services. For more 

 or call  (240) 487-9427



And thanks to all our additional partners! 



Check out more photos on our website!

Forklift Shares the Wealth When Businesses Choose to Donate, Not Dump 


By Elizabeth McGowan 


Gary Piscopo, left, and John Gray load a donation from their Frederick, Md.-based company, Wholesalers USA Inc., into a truck headed for the Community Forklift.

Since 2003, Gary Piscopo had insisted on lugging around at least two carefully wrapped pallet loads of unsold artwork. After moving the stacks of colorful and intricate shadowboxes for the fifth time, however, the entrepreneur began to question his sanity and business acumen.


So the 46-year-old felt vindicated-and relieved-when he discovered an outlet for the handmade treasures he feared he'd have to trash. The place? Community Forklift, of course.  


Gary Piscopo holds up a sample of the type of glass mosaic tile that Wholesalers USA Inc. donated to Community Forklift in late September.

"Clearly, this is what I was saving it for," says Piscopo, vice president of Wholesalers USA Inc., a family-owned and operated outfit in Frederick, Md. "We have limited space, so we can't keep everything around. And donating is way better than throwing it away."


He first stumbled upon the Forklift last summer when his fiancée needed building supplies to update her kitchen in Takoma Park. An online search guided them to the Edmonston warehouse, where Piscopo was bedazzled by the expansive inventory an  d the possibility of a long-term, give-and-take relationship. By September, the Forklift had arranged to send a truck to Frederick to pick up not only the artwork but also 1,000 pounds of glass tiles and 1,500 pounds of glass gems.


Nancy Meyer, Community Forklift's chief executive officer, makes sure John Gray receives the right paperwork for a donation made by Wholesalers USA Inc.

"It's good for us, it's good for them, it's good for everybody," Nancy Meyer, the Forklift's chief executive officer, says about the new link with Wholesalers USA. "It's great for our customers when we can make higher-end products available at discounted prices."


Connecting Piscopo and his ilk with the Forklift isn't just a haphazard occurrence, Meyer emphasizes. Instead of waiting for deliveries from donors already in the pipeline, the eight-year-old nonprofit is now ramping up its efforts to cultivate and maintain bonds with targeted industries unaware of the Forklift's existence. These contractors, property managers, retailers and small businesses often see the landfill as the only option because they don't have the time, space or energy for excess inventory.  


"We find that a good number of folks just end up with stock they can't use or sell," she says. To keep it out of the country's burgeoning junkpile, "we want to make it simple for donors to get the benefits of working with the Forklift."

John Gray shows off samples of the handmade shadowbox artwork that Frederick, Md.-based Wholesalers USA Inc. donated to Community Forklift this autumn. Each piece includes an artist's biography.

Piscopo and his brother, Mark, first invested in the elaborate shadowboxes about a decade ago. They put time and money into an arduous licensing process with artists and traveled to China to pick up the unique creations. Initially, they envisioned making the artwork the centerpiece at kiosks in shopping malls in the mid-Atlantic where they would also sell vases, flowers and glass gems. So they pursued their plan.


Well, the artwork was moving, "but not like hotcakes," Piscopo recalls. "I'm on the road trying to sell these pictures and people are blowing up our phone lines trying to buy the glass gems."


The realization that customers couldn't keep their hands off the gems-the small, shiny, polished pieces of tinted glass used for creating mosaics and murals-was an aha moment for the siblings.


"We listened to what our customers were looking for and went out and got it," Piscopo says about the decision to shelve the shadowboxes, boost their inventory of glass gems and add glass tiles to the mix. "We followed the trail of nuts, and basically it was our customers who led us."


Plenty of their buyers are domestic but they also do a booming business in Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.


Glass gems that Frederick, Md.-based Wholesalers USA Inc. donated to Community Forklift come in an array of colors.

Once the brothers lasered in on glass gems and tiles, they made the commitment to move the company headquarters from a basement and shipping container in Rockville to a warehouse in Frederick at the end of 2005. Wholesalers USA now has six employees-and four of them are related. A portion of the 12,000 square feet of space is dedicated to an offspring venture, a limited liability corporation called Giorbello Elegant Tile Products. Gary and Mark's nephew, John Gray, sells that brand of tile to retailers.


Piscopo says the Forklift will continue to be the beneficiary when his company cleans house every six months or so. He is elated to ally with a place that has such an appreciate audience of artists and do-it-yourselfers.

"We have a warehouse full of product," he says. "Why not share the wealth?"


If your business has usable, excess building materials piling up, but you can't bear to throw them away, please consider donating them to Community Forklift.   


To find out more, contact Jon at 301-985-6011


small business saturday
green friday
Save the date for our next big party... 


Green Friday & 
Small Business Saturday! 


Don't you hate going shopping after Thanksgiving? The chain stores are blasting the same songs over and over, the fake cinnamon-scented stuff gives you a headache, and everyone is cranky. Instead of fighting crowds to load up on plastic junk, don't you wish there was a better way?


Well, instead of Black Friday, we're celebrating GREEN Friday and Small Business Saturday at Community Forklift. On Friday Nov. 29th, and Saturday Nov. 30th, we're inviting all of our neighbors and Forklift Fans to enjoy music, munchies, hot cider, and fun activities!

Stay tuned for more details!small business saturday
Also, if you represent a small local business and want to be part of our celebration, please get in touch: Outreach(at)   

 Now hiring! 

Community Forklift is seeking an experienced Office Manager to work full-time. The Office Manager will be primarily responsible for the general oversight and management of the overall office administration, human relations and bookkeeping functions for an organization with more than 40 full-time, part-time and on-call employees. This is not an entry-level position, only qualified applicants will be considered. 
Truck Driver  
Community Forklift is seeking a full-time Truck Driver. This person will represent the organization by picking up used and surplus building materials in the DC area. Responsibilities include driving our 24-foot box truck with manual transmission. A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) is preferred. All applicants must have an excellent driving record, relevant driving experience and a current Maryland Department of Transportation medical card. If you do not have medical card, you will need a physical before you begin. Prior related driving experience is required!   

SCRAP-DC announces new DIY classes!  

New Classes, Workshops and Drop-Ins have arrived at SCRAP. Whether you want to work on your own project or start something new, our friends at SCRAP-DC have got you covered.  Learn how to make paper beads, how to reinvent your broken jewelry, how to transform everyday paper and aluminum and plastic in to masterpieces, or how to mend your sweater.  Teenagers are invited every Thursday to make "Art from Scrap", little ones can drop in to "Celebrate the Seasons", and the 18-and-up crowd has some serious choices to make about which classes to take.  Visit their Eventbrite page to see all the details and sign up!  

And, their class list isn't finished yet! Classes like Sewing for Your Kitchen and How to Make PJs are in the works. If you want to teach please submit your ideas here.  

Got skills?  

Can you lead a workshop at the 'Lift?


  • Are you a contractor, woodworker, artist, DIY-er, or general handy-person?
  • Do you reuse materials in your work or hobbies?
  • Are you willing to spend a couple hours showing other Forkilft Fans the basics of what you do & how you do it?

  • Please email Outreach(at) if you'd like to lead a workshop, an "Ask the Expert" Q&A session, or a hands-on demonstration at the Forklift!

Neat November Sales


50% Off Brick Veneer Mantels
Take half off the marked price on our surplus MDF/Brick Veneer fireplace mantels this month! (Sale does not include wood or stone mantels, select specialty items, or items from our consignment partners.)

Half Price Doors of $30 or Less

Take half off the regular price on all bifold and house doors marked at $30 or less. (Sale does not apply to doors over $30, doors with missing or damaged price tags, or select specialty items.)  

 50% off Roof Trusses     


Take half off of the regular price on roof trusses tagged at $35 to $95.  Great for a lean-to, cold frame, or to take apart to use the 2x4 lumber! (Sale does not include other roof parts, other lumber, or items with missing or damaged price tags.)  

50% off Salvaged Bathroom Sinks

Take half off of the marked price on salvaged/used bathroom sinks! (Sale does not include bathroom vanity sets, kitchen or utility sinks, or items with missing or damaged price tags.)

Monday, November 11: Veterans Day

Active and retired military take 20% off CF materials with a military ID card.
Friday, November 15 is America Recycles Day!

One day to educate. One day to motivate. One day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year. Get Involved!  See for details.

Celebrate with us by taking 20% off all regular CF materials.  Excludes consignment & specialty items. 
Tuesday, November 19 is World Toilet Day!

This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.  See for details.

Half-price toilet sale at Community Forklift, one day only! (Sale does not include select specialty items.)
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Hope to see you around the warehouse soon!


Your friends at Community Forklift