The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has brought its mission to Brentwood, opening a new Help & Hope Thrift Center. More than a thrift store, the center offers a total package for helping those in need in Contra Costa County.
The center had its soft opening on Feb. 5, and has scheduled a grand opening for Presidents’ Day weekend on Feb. 16 and 17.
“On the 16th, we’ll have a grand opening with ribbon cutting and refreshments for people; we’ll continue refreshments and welcoming people on Feb. 17,” said Oscar Perez, interim store coordinator. “We look forward to seeing many people attend our store and come see what we’re doing over there and learn about our services and more about the Society.”
Though the thrift store is the focus, it will also serve as a resource center where people can be referred back to other St. Vincent de Paul programs at their Family Resource Center in Pittsburg, and to their branches tied to the different Catholic churches in the area, including Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley and Byron.
With an existing thrift store in Pleasant Hill and the center in Pittsburg, Brentwood seemed a good location to expand, especially considering its more than 100-percent population growth in the last decade, and with the number of people living below the poverty level also increasing more than 100-percent in that timeframe.
“The East Bay has been referred to as a services desert and we’re hoping to be an oasis in that desert,” said Claudia Ramirez, interim executive director, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County. “We feel there is a need for somebody to help direct and help support the safety net. We’re almost a safety net for the safety net, that’s how we look at ourselves.”
Miguel Augliar and Renee Sparks, St. Vincent de Paul Brentwood store clerks, are ready for customers at the new store. (Courtesy Keiyanna Coldcleugh/St. Vincent de Paul)
The name Help & Hope Thrift Center reflects its multipurpose aspect. It will serve as a place where other branches can send their clients to get changes of clothes, clothes for interviews and furnishings for their homes. The staff at the store is trained and can refer people back to branches where they get the direct volunteer action, long term on a one-on-one basis. The store will also provide income for other St. Vincent de Paul programs.
“Some of the basic programs …
Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle