Residents were able to regain a bit of their independence by taking a trip to the store to buy a few items for themselves. Everything was free. Fake money was used to buy real things provided by the partners and the local community.
"It's easy for people to take some of life's little freedoms for granted such as browsing the isles of a department store,” said Brent Jarreau, director of community relations for Quality Center for Rehabilitation and Healing. “If we can find simple ways to give back some of those feelings of independence, I'm all for it. Many of our long-term residents really need certain items to make them more comfortable. This is just a fun way to satisfy the need."
Ben Spicer, director of Wilson County Community Help Center, normally sends his unsold clothing to a distribution center at the end of each season. From there, the clothing ends up in the hands of other like-businesses or recycled into automotive rags and such.
“He and I came up with the idea to give those items one last chance to stay local,” Jarreau said. “The Wilson County Community Help Center serves as a hand up to the Wilson County resident in times of difficult circumstances by providing temporary help with food, clothes, utility help and limited medical assistance.”
"We also serve the community as in inexpensive thrift store,” Spicer said. “Not everyone wants to ask for help, and items can be purchased for pennies on the dollar. Anyone can shop here, and all profits after paying staff and expenses goes back into the community."
Julie Hadlock, director of the Next Step Resource, loved the idea and stepped in to help without hesitation, Jarreau said. Her organization helps formerly incarcerated people with training, transportation options and other necessities. She has assisted countless people to get back on their feet with her many amazing resources. She drives people to work in her personal car and teaches useful skills, just to name a few.
The Quality Center went under new ownership in 2016. Since then, many specialty programs were implemented.
"These are exciting times for Quality. We're in our 40th year, and we are in the beginning stages of a multi-million dollar renovation," said Jarreau.
Learn more at qualitycenterrehab.com and its Facebook page.