Representatives from 35 Bureau County organizations gathered Tuesday at The Princeton Closet to receive a share of over $200,000 in donations distributed by the resale store’s ‘Lending a Hand’ program.
This year’s donations totaled $218,000, an all time high.
Officially titled in 2019, the giving program has been a part of The Closet’s history from its beginnings in the 1960′s, when its mission was to outfit immigrant families with low cost clothing and shoes.
The ‘Lending a Hand’ Program is designed to financially assist Bureau County nonprofit organizations. All proceeds from sales at The Closet after expenses are donated back to the community.
Board President Jo Anne Kloepping said it’s because of the generosity of the community and the 40 to 50 weekly volunteers that make the donations possible.
In addition to the donations, Kloepping said proceeds from the year’s sales will also bring to fruition a project three years in the works- an addition to the store.
“We’ve been planning and saving to be able to add on to the building,” Kloepping said. “Being able to do that now, we can’t speak enough about how happy we are.”
Those who received allocations for their organizations were just as grateful to participate in the program.
Braveheart Children’s Advocacy Center received its first large donation from The Closet this year, something entirely needed after the agency purchased a new building this year.
“We’re excited to be a permanent part of the community,” Jackie Diediker said on behalf of Braveheart. “This is a huge blessing. The building needed a lot of repairs and updates and this will allow us to do that work and to make it a safe place for clients that come to us for services.”
Flags of Freedom, who has received donations in the past, uses funds from The Closet to keep flags flying at the Interstate 80 exit.
“This is for our veterans, past and present, active and reserves,” Flags Chairperson Terry Robison said. “This is the only place in the country to have four flags of that size flying together.”
Arukah Institute of Healing Chief Information and Communication Officer Stephanie Gustafson said the agency has been able to institute a free counseling program thanks to donations from the ‘Lending a Hand’ Program.
“Every year it goes directly to providing services for non insured and underinsured clients,” Gustafson said. “We offer counseling on a sliding or free scale and thanks to these donations we never turn anyone away. We make sure it can work for them when they need it.”
“This store is for the community and by the community,” Kloepping said. “To be able to give back to the community is a blessing.”