“To be a place where development is a lifestyle”
In addition to redistribution of goods, the management of the goods has created avenues for employment, volunteerism and empowerment in the community. Neighborhood Thrift provides a healthy and diverse work environment where people from all walks of life work and grow together while sustaining the store. As they commit to their responsibilities and duties they are growing personally and professionally making themselves more competitive in the work world. The hope is that through their commitment at the store, their growth as an individual will carry over into their personal life and into their family and community. (Ephesians 4:28 says, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”)
In March of 2008, Neighborhood Thrift opened its doors to become a permanent presence in the Target Neighborhood of The Well Community Church. This neighborhood surrounds the Susan B. Anthony Elementary school (located at Blackstone and Olive). After developing relationships in this community for more than 5 years, this step seemed to be one that was needed and would help us to plant roots, becoming part of the community in a more holistic way. However, since then we have realized that the need is much larger than just one single community but city wide!
By simply opening up its doors Neighborhood Thrift has been able to take the donations from its local community to pass them along at discounted rates. The store has become a place where community members in Fresno can work for necessary items and an equal trade can take place, benefiting both the store and its customers.
The goal of Neighborhood Thrift is to employ local residents from the community and provide them with skills to be competitive in the job market. WIthin the process we also seek to prepare them in a holistic way, not just addressing the need for work but growth in many different areas. For example, skills in conflict resolution, life skills training and how to be ready and prepared for in the financial realm.
Neighborhood Thrift has a desire of equipping the community members to strengthen themselves economically. The thrift store seeks to improve the lives of the low-income families by increasing their purchasing capacity and placing economic power back into the hands of the community. The program emphasizes the importance of honorable work and economic empowerment as essential to human dignity. It provides quality merchandise at affordable prices, allowing for a great exchange on both sides of the transaction.
Neighborhood Thrift is set up to improve the community relationally and economically. By selling merchandise at discounted rates (approximately 10% of original retail price) we are allowing the dollar to stretch further in our community. The store is then used as a location where the community members can be strengthened in their job skills and receive training in retail.