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Wear & Share battles economy to help county residents in need

From Pat Prudhomme

The past year was a challenging one for the Wear & Share Thrift Store. The poor economy and ever-increasing costs of operation, combined with numerous necessary but costly equipment and maintenance costs made it difficult to channel as much money as the organization would have liked to the many worthy causes in the area.

But a supportive community, the dedication of hard-working volunteers and a strong squeeze on every dime, helped the year end well and almost $38,600 was distributed in cash along with an additional $4,000 worth of clothing and merchandise to those in need.

Almost $14,000 went in the form of assistance to those individuals recommended through the Arkansas Department of Human Services of Van Buren County for such items as rent or household utilities.

In addition to various small donations made on a case-by-case basis, others who received funding were: Animal Protection League $ 1,200; Dove House $1,200; Fairfield Bay Library $2,400; Foods For Life $2,400; Mainstreet Kids $2,400; Care Caps $2,400; The CALL $800; Van Buren County Aging Program $2,400; Van Buren County Literacy Council, Inc. $2,400; Single Parent Scholarship Fund $7,000.

Wear & Share operates as a non-profit corporation and is managed by an unpaid board of officers and directors comprised of two members each from these local churches: Fairfield Bay Baptist Church; Faith Lutheran Church; Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church; Fairfield Bay United Methodist Church; Cornerstone; Peace Lutheran Church; and St. Francis Catholic Church.

The store is run by one salaried manager and one assistant manager who is paid on an as-needed basis. All other workers are unpaid volunteers who receive no compensation or discounts for their time or services. Last year, there were 68 regular volunteers who donated over 7,686 hours of their time and talents to staff and operate the store.

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