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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

The Helping Hands Thrift Store is open for business.


The store’s first official day open to the public was March 10.

“When we got here at 9:30 a.m. there were people waiting to get in,” said Rev. Wil Jones, co-chair of the Helping Hands Board of Directors.

Helping Hands was formed 24 years ago in an effort to organize volunteers from churches in the community who wanted to assist families with food, clothing, furniture and cash when available.

About 15 of the more than 70 churches in Grant County actively support the organization.

Shopping was brisk on Tuesday morning, but some stopped in just to see and ask questions about the organization’s mission.

“I think this is a great idea and there’s definitely a need,” said Loretta Beach, of Dry Ridge.

The need for the help provided by Helping Hands continues to grow.

“Ten years ago the amount of canned goods collected by the schools would last us until May,” said Rev. Jerry Summers, co-chair. “But now, we’d be lucky if it lasted through February.”

Helping Hands distributed 30 to 40 bags of food in 1999. Today, they give away 160 to 170 bags per month.

“The need is that great and we believe it will just keep growing,” Summers said.

Proceeds from the Thrift Store will be used to buy more food, clothing and furniture.

“The biggest reason for the Thrift Store is because we need more money to purchase food and meet the need in this community,” Summers said.

Helping Hands is in need of clothing, canned goods and furniture. Those items should be brought to the Helping Hands building, located behind the Grant County Detention Center on Barnes Road.

Items that are in good condition may be taken to the Thrift Store, located behind the Grant County Drugs on Barnes Road in Williamstown, and offered for sale to the general public.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better location,” Summers said. “And we couldn’t have gotten it at such a good price if Grant County Drugs had not been so generous.”

Helping Hands is renting the 1.800 square foot space for $500 per month.

“All the money from this goes to support the work of Helping Hands,” said Jones.

Volunteers to staff the thrift store are also needed.

“We’ve got a great group of volunteers and a lot of donations and sweat went into getting this place ready to open, but more people need assistance which means we need more people to give it,” Summers said.