Lending a hand to those in need
By Ashley McLeod, Staff Writer
Feb 28, 2013, 12:55
photo by Ashley McLeod Located in downtown Hopewell, the Shepherd’s Place decorate their front windows for the month of February.
In today’s world, everybody needs a little help at some point. Whether it be from friends or family, or even complete strangers.
Here in Hopewell, one organization strives to do just that, help as many people as they can.
The Shepherd’s Place is an organization located in Hopewell that was started more than 30 years ago by Lavern Fraiser. Fraiser developed breast cancer and prayed to get through it, vowing to give back something in return. That something was Shepherd’s Place.
“Lavern started this organization as a small project in the closet of First Methodist Church, and from there it just grew and grew to what we have now,” said Sharon Hertz, volunteer and secretary of the organization.
The Shepherd’s Place began as a small project and has grown into an important organization. Now located at 201 East Broadway in Hopewell, the store has grown bigger and bigger as the years have gone by.
“We outgrew the space at First Methodist, moved to Hopewell Street, and from there to Broadway,” said Alice Curtis, a volunteer at the store.
photo by Ashley McLeod Volunteers Pat Weese, left, and Alice Curtis, right, at work in the store as a customer browses through the racks.
Sharon Bush, who works at the law office next to where the shop is now located, helped to keep the store alive when the threat of having to close down came up.
“We were renovating our office, making it smaller,” said Bush. “I knew they needed space so I suggested calling them to move in next to us.”
Bush also helps to decorate the store windows and has become friends with the ladies who work next door.
At their current location for two years now, the Shepherd’s Place collects donations of small household goods and clothes, as well as monetary donations, which they then give back to the community. The store is filled with clothing, shoes, hats and other items that members of the community can purchase for a small price.
All of the proceeds from sales are donated to the Salvation Army or the Food Pantry in Hopewell.
For those in need, the organization also gives out free clothes.
Shepherd’s Place receives letters from Social Services or local churches, informing them of different individuals or families that are in need of their help. Once approved, people are allowed to come in and pick items to take home for no charge.
“Most of our customers come from Social Services, and we usually allow them three outfits for free,” Hertz said.
Hertz explained that there are also special circumstances where these letters are not needed.
“We’ve had situations such as fires, where people have lost everything, and times where someone has lost a loved one and needs something to wear to the funeral or bury the deceased in,” Hertz said. “Of course we don’t hesitate to help in these situations.”
With the economy and job market being slow, more people are trying to save money on necessities such as clothing, which makes stores such as this one even more important in the community.
“With the economy being the way it is, it’s a big help,” Hertz said. “I like it when people come in and they tell us they got a new job and they need a wardrobe. They can afford to buy the clothes here, and it’s for a good cause.”
Bush said that this was one of the most important aspects as to why she helps the group.
photo by Ashley McLeod Volunteer Helen Umstead sorts through a rack of shirts for sale at the Shepherd’s Place.
“I think what they do is a very special thing. It helps people in need. They actually have low prices, and people can afford the items.”
The organization is completely run by volunteers from local churches of all denominations and is a nonprofit group. For more information on the Shepherd’s Place, or if you would like to help out, call 804-458-0227, or stop by the store.