Thrift store provides funds for new building

Thrift store provides funds for new building

February 23, 2016 in Agency Spotlight

When area residents enter the front doors of the United Community Help Center in Licking, they are greeted by a large thrift store stocked with furniture, household items and clothes at extremely low prices.

Without the thrift store and a gracious volunteer-based staff, the Help Center would not be possible. The thrift store provides all the funding needed to give emergency assistance to families and to provide commodities from Ozarks Food Harvest.

Donnetta James, director of the Help Center in Texas County, said that on a busy day the thrift store could see 70 people and make a $700 profit: “That’s from selling T-shirts for $1 and a few pairs of shoes for $2.”

As a volunteer for five years, James saw the Help Center go through a dramatic increase in building size.

“Before the new center, we operated Licking Pantry insideout of a tiny store,” James shared. “The only coolers we had were small refrigerators that were donated to us.”

After three years of hard work, the Help Center’s new building was completed in phases — thanks to the funds raised from items sold at the thrift store.

The new building contains walk-in freezers and coolers that provide ample area for food to stay fresh longer and sorting rooms allow volunteers to process donations away from the busy thrift store.

Each month, about 450 individuals visit the Help Center to receive commodities from the food pantry. It also provides assistance to individuals in times of crisis.

“A young girl who had nowhere to go came to the center and said she had not eaten in three days,” James recalled about a memorable client interaction.

The Help Center provided her with food, clothing and money for gas to get to a place that offers housing assistance.

“People just don’t realize all the help this little center provides to Licking,” James said. “The new building has meant so much to us.”