New store helps fund Safe Haven

By Emily Van Zandt Originally Published December 13, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated December 12, 2012 at 10:07 a.m.
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Members of the Cabot Chamber of Commerce and staff from the Safe Haven Thrift Store are shown at the store’s official ribbon-cutting. The store will help raise funds for the Lonoke County Safe Haven shelter.

As money grew tight and grants became harder to come by, the staff at Lonoke County Safe Haven had a tough decision to make: Start making extra money, or be left unable to pay the bills.

“With the economy the way it is, many of our grants have been cut back in government cuts,” said Sharon Davidson, an advocate at Safe Haven. “We were having trouble with the funds to pay our utilities and any of the extras for the women who come here.”

The staff hoped to not have to cut back on the services offered at the center to make the budget work. Safe Haven offers support and shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence in the Lonoke County Area. Founded in 2005, the facility includes 20 beds for those who need a place to stay.

Rather than decrease the amount of help they would be able to offer, staff members at Safe Haven decided to open a thrift store to help bring in enough money for the shelter to stay open.

“We put it together pretty quickly,” Davidson said. “It all fell into step in maybe four or five months.”

Located at 114 A N. First St. in Cabot, the store sells clothing, baby items, toys and furniture that are donated to them. Most clothing items at the store are priced at $1, making the store not only a help to the shelter, but to struggling families shopping in the area as well.

“The prices are low enough that people who can’t even afford to go to Walmart for clothes can come and buy, and it, in turn, helps us,” store manager Julie Bohannan said.

Though the store has only been open a few weeks, Bohannan has already had plenty of people stop by with donations. The store has been especially beneficial for foster parents who may be fostering multiple children of different ages. If the foster parents come to the store with $20, Bohannan says, they’re able to get nearly a new wardrobe for the kids.

“So far the store has paid for itself,” Bohannan said. “I would like to see it bring in at least $2,500 a month to offset the grants that have been cut.”

Though the Cabot store is tiny — just 20 by 30 feet — Bohannan said there’s plenty of room for more donations. People who want to donate items directly to the Safe Haven shelter can bring those items to the thrift store as well. Davidson said the shelter is always looking for lotions and soaps, as well as new socks, underwear and pajamas for women and children.

“Many of those who come to the shelter have left the house with nothing,” Davidson said. “Having those little things, having a new pair of pajamas, helps them feel more special.”

The thrift store is open in Cabot from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

Staff Writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 or emily@syncweekly.com.

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