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The Arc Thrift Store ready for its first holiday season


The sixth program being highlighted is The Arc of LaGrange County Thrift Store.

The Arc of LaGrange County opened its first Thrift Store at 960 S. Van Buren Street in Shipshewana at the end of July.

You may be asking yourself, “Why did The Arc open a Thrift Store?” Actually, there are several reasons for this expansion.

First and foremost, The Arc must find a way to generate more revenue to support the wide array of services they provide to individuals with disabilities and their families here in LaGrange County. Budget short falls have already made it necessary for them to cut one program and they are looking for ways to ensure that doesn’t continue happening. Funding from the Federal and State government continue to be cut, while need for services by individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities is on the rise.

Although the county government has been supportive of The Arc and all they do for the community, they too are unable to meet all of The Arc’s funding shortfalls. The Arc is looking for ways to help support themselves.

Currently, The Arc serves approximately seventy individuals on a daily basis. However, the State has identified one hundred and five individuals waiting for services in LaGrange County. The local agency knows that this number is not truly reflective of those waiting.

Debra Seman, CEO, shared that they receive on average two to three calls each month from individuals who are now ready for their loved one to begin receiving service, when the individual calling in is asked if they know where they are on the waiting list? They are shocked to learn that they need to be on a list! The assumption has always been that when they were ready for services they would be available.

Currently, the State cannot predict for families when funding for services will be available at the local level. It will be based upon need, as determined by them. This is a difficult place for someone like Seman to be put in; when she knows that a family is desperate for help she would like to be able to offer some type of assistance to these families.

Therefore, when a group of local businessmen came together to help brainstorm ways that The Arc could move toward self-sufficiency and provide meaningful employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, the idea of a local Thrift Store was born.

They know that you, the customer, expect to save a lot of money when you shop at a thrift store. That’s their job—to help you save money…and help you get the most value for your dollar. Because you choose to re-use, you will save money and “green” our planet while helping a local non-profit!

Choosing to buy used, re-cycled, secondhand, or vintage items is smart. Buying thrift makes you feel good all over and best of all you will be making a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families here in LaGrange County.

The Thrift store has bargains galore. Quality items at rock bottom prices are added daily to the sales floor. You need to make time to check out all the store has to offer. Katie Kirtley, stated “I love to shop at thrift stores, I couldn’t believe how big The Arc Thrift store was and the large diversity of items that were available for sale. I collect cardinals and I found some that I didn’t have at their store. I will stop in whenever I can to check it out.”

How can you help? The Arc Needs You. . .to consider donating your gently used clothing and household items to The Arc of LaGrange County Thrift Store. If it’s something you would buy, then it’s something they will accept and sell.

Donations can be dropped off at two different locations during business hours: at the store in Shipshewana Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or at the main facility located at 0235 W 300 N. Howe Monday through Friday 8:oo a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Large furniture items can be scheduled for pick up.

They also need you to shop the store. All of the items in the store are unique and “experienced.” Their baseball bats have hit that home run. Their dishes have served Thanksgiving dinner. And their coats have experience at keeping you warm on those cold winter nights. To make room for new arriving treasures, they will be having a 50% off sale on Black Friday! (Look for and bring the ad out of this paper.)

Lastly, The Arc Thrift Store needs volunteers to help organize and sort donations coming in. If you have a few hours or a day that you could donate some time to help, please contact Store Manager, Kathy LeCount at (260) 768-3289 to find out how you can help to make a difference. “Achieve With Us!”