After six and half years of successfully shipping 89 containers of humanitarian aid to support refugees the pandemic took us all by surprise. Things became eerily similar for us Americans when compared to the lives of refugees. We became confined, concerned, scarred, and some of us even fell ill. Refugees suffer a similar comparison, being confined, and restricted by limitations set for them due to circumstances beyond their control, whether it may be limitations of a refugee camp, or their limitations in relocation based on acceptance. We all heed the effects of mental strains when we are presented with the limits set for us by our circumstances that are new and unnatural to us.
With much time to reflect, and no action being taken, we were encouraged when donations continued to arrive on our doorstep. The main concern was accountability, once we accept these in-kind donations, we could not allow them to simply sit and wait for the situation to change. Through conversations and deliberations, the concept of a local thrift shop to offer the community used goods came into play and we moved forward by actively searching for a space. With the help of a local Syrian American community member, we were referred to our new home in Fairview Village.
After nine months in lockdown and much to consider we decided to move forward with our new thrift shop and warehouse. We started the renovations in October 2020 and officially hosted our grand opening ceremony in December 2020.
The thrift shop has become a wonderful place for our local schools, houses of worship, and businesses to come out and spend a day of service.
The thrift shop has also incorporated a wonderful voucher system, this program was initiated to offer new arrivals in the area with refugee status the opportunity to have a shopping experience within the thrift shop, with a $100.00 voucher granted to refugees in need, shoppers are welcome to stop in and make personalized decisions about what they need from the selection available. The thrift shop remains a wonderful additional to our program portfolio and we trust we will continue to garner the support of our volunteers, donors, and affiliates for years to come!