UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. - Larry Nelthropp and his wife Christie wanted to raise money to help a few less fortunate families.
But they had no idea how many people they'd end up helping.
The couple watched hours of coverage from Hurricane Katrina and something clicked.
"My wife said to me 'we need to do something to help Katrina families,'" Larry said.
They formed Operation Hands On to help a few families find housing, and had no real plan to do anything else. But something magical happened in University Place.
They started small in just a 500-square-foot space and they have grown into a 25,000-square-foot facility.
Volunteers came out of the woodwork and people donated all sorts of items. So much so that the Nelthropps' little idea is now a major non-profit organization helping anyone in need.
"Last October we went over 500 families," Larry Nelthropp said.
Larrie Fletcher got an apartment full of furniture free of charge.
"This place is a new blessing," he said.
And single mother Jamie Hayward - who also went through a rough patch - got free clothes, furniture, and diapers for her and her five boys.
"It's like being in a candy store, being like a little kid all over again," she said.
The Nelthropps - who have retired from their full-time jobs - say the smiling faces keep them going.
Operation Hands On is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.