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Neighborhood nonprofits partner

A thrift store and a children’s center a few blocks apart started a partnership in October to help them serve families in the South Perry neighborhood.

Lena Lopez Schindler

Lena Lopez Schindler tells of Windfall partnering with Liberty Park Child Development Center.

Liberty Park Child Development Center at 1417 E. Hartson had piles of donated clothing in plastic bags that took up space in the office and foyer.

Families would come in and go through the unsorted clothes looking for things to fit their children, but there was no place to try on the clothes.

When Spencer Grainger began as program and development director in the summer, he started reorganizing space and looked for another way to redistribute the clothing.

He talked with Lena Lopez Schindler, president of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John’s Service League, which runs The Windfall Thrift Store at 1024 S. Perry.

Lena experienced that connection as “a God moment,” she said.

The Windfall has a dressing room and volunteers to sort it by size and type, and hang it on racks.  The child development center had “customers” and donated clothing.  The center sends families there with vouchers they can use to shop.  The Service League overwhelmingly approved of partnering to meet this neighborhood need.

Spencer took the clothing donations that were at the center, and regularly takes new clothing donations.  If someone calls to donate, he suggests they take the items directly to The Windfall.  So far, he has taken nearly 20 bags.

“The voucher program is a respectful relationship to let families shop in the store for whatever they need,” Lena said. 

Windfall volunteers ask families what they need and help them find items.

Ronalisa Notton, the center’s family service coordinator, set up the voucher program.  Because she is responsible for family intake to the center’s ECEAP program, she knows families’ backgrounds and children’s financial and health needs.  For refugee children, she has information in English on their sizes for shoes and clothing.

“Our goal is to create neighborhood partnerships,” said Spencer.   “There are many nonprofits in the neighborhood, and our need to connect is obvious.”

For information, call 534-3888 or 534-0957.

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