Operations at Hope 4 Youth were hit hard by the pandemic, but the local non-profit is now celebrating the reopening of its thrift shop. Hope's Closet Resale Boutique in Champlin reopened it's doors this month for the first time since March... and business is brisk!
The thrift store is entirely run by volunteers and stocked with high-end donations that make it look and feel like a luxury boutique. All the proceeds benefit Coon Rapids-based Hope 4 Youth. The non-profit serves homeless teens and young adults across the region. Since reopening last week, the shop has had a steady stream of shoppers and donations. The hustle & bustle inside Hope's Closet is a welcome change toward normalcy for its volunteer staff, as well as the many loyal customers who have been anxiously waiting to return.
Hope 4 Youth also operates a drop-in center in Anoka where youth can warm up, take a shower and wash clothes, or grab a hot meal. The drop-in center was also forced to closed in March & April due to the Stay at Home order. It reopened this summer, but fewer kids are showing up in person. Drop-in traffic is only about one-third the typical level. Offering face-to-face help is a challenge, and Hope 4 Youth has been short on volunteers since the pandemic began.
"A big piece of what we do here is the relationship building with the staff and volunteer mentors that come on," said Mark McNamer, director of programs at Hope 4 Youth. "That piece was really missing. So in the last month or so here, we've really tried to loosen that up a bit - as much as we can, you know, within COVID protocol."
McNamer says the organization will continue to adapt to the new challenges. Staff helps youth as much as they can by phone or video. Hope 4 Youth also extended hours at the drop-in center hoping to spread out and stagger when youth come in seeking help. McNamer says the youth they serve are very resilient and as they continue to persevere, so will Hope 4 Youth's staff and volunteers.
"Even though there's been a lot of change," said McNamer, "we're still committed to the mission of the organization and that is to end youth homelessness."
Hope 4 Youth recently received a non-profit relief grant from the City of Coon Rapids, as well as other county and federal assistance. However, donations and volunteers are greatly needed. Learn more about how to volunteer, donate or support Hope 4 Youth here. Hope's Closet Resale Boutique is located at 11350 Aquila Drive N, Suite 905, Champlin. Operating hours are Tuesdays & Fridays from noon to 7 p.m.