Open for Kindness

When Brother’s Keeper thrift store held its grand reopening on September 28, it was more than a ribbon cutting for a new building; it was a celebration of 49 years of service to our community and a way to serve even more neighbors in need.

If you shopped at the Brother’s Keeper thrift store when it was located downtown on the corner of South Magnolia Avenue and West Fort King Street, you know it was bursting at the seams with affordable clothing for men, women and children as well as furniture and household items, often yielding bargains as quirky as the old two-story brick building. Last month, the store and administrative offices, moved to a new location. The new combined use building offers lots of space for all the services Brother’s Keeper provides to those in need.
“We needed more parking; we needed more space,” explains Executive Director Jason Halstead. “We wanted to be near the people we serve, we wanted to be single story and we wanted to have space to grow.”
The new store, located at 320 NW 10th Street, helps form a new “thrift shop row” alongside stores run by community partners the Salvation Army and the Humane Society of Marion County. The thrift shop is the most visible of Brother’s Keeper’s community services and provides funding to support its other programs.
The bright, spacious storefront is clean and well-organized, with much more space for shopping deals on furniture, clothing, household items and even bicycles. Donating items is easy, with a convenient drop-off on the building’s west side. And behind the shop staffed by cheery volunteers is expansive warehouse space where more smiling volunteers manage volumes of thrift-store donations as well as a food pantry stocked with nonperishables for those in need.
”We serve about 6,000 clients annually with all the different services,” Halstead says of Brother’s Keeper’s soup kitchen and emergency services. Impressively, all this is accomplished with only a few paid staff and the generous work of around 100 volunteers.

Through its emergency services department, located in the back of the thrift shop, Brother’s Keeper accepts applications from local residents in need of food, clothing, furniture and assistance with utility payments, transportation and prescription medications. Started as a ministry of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, the organization’s mission is “to give clients a hand up so they can become the best version of themselves.”

BY THE NUMBERS

In one month:

  • 1,000 people received assistance
  • 7,000 meals are served in the soup kitchen
  • 130 people received free clothing
  • 200 bags of emergency food are given to families in need
  • 100 families obtain utility assistance

Brother’s Keeper › 320 NW 10th Street › www.bkocala.org › (352) 622-3846

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