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Charity Boutique on Horizon for LACASA

Donation Drive Starts in January

DECEMBER, 2016 — LACASA Center will open a charity resale boutique next year and is launching a “Shop with Dignity Donation Drive” beginning in January, 2017.

“We are excited about this new venture,” said Bobette Schrandt, LACASA’s president and CEO. “It will not only benefit the community, but will help victims from Livingston County shop with dignity.”

LACASA is a nonprofit organization that provides domestic violence victims and their children with emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, transitional housing, and a variety of support programs. All services are provided at no charge.

The boutique will be open to the public, and LACASA clients will receive vouchers to shop for their immediate needs and the needs of their families.

Instilling a Sense of Empowerment

“Victims are not used to having choices,” Schrandt said. “Most of them have been in relationships that are all about power and control. When they decide to leave that relationship, they often come to us with just the clothes on their backs and are in great need.”

Currently, LACASA provides used clothing for clients, which is donated by members of the community throughout the year. This means victims and their children must take what is available at the time, which can be extremely limited.

“When you so fear for your life that you flee your home and leave everything behind, personal finances are stretched to the breaking point,” said Schrandt.

“Suddenly, the basics– like outfits for children to wear to school or appropriate work clothes—become an urgent necessity. Victims deserve to have a place where they can shop for basic essentials that are the correct size and are in colors and styles they prefer.”

LACASA adheres to the Domestic Violence Empowerment Model, which means providing victims and survivors with basic living essentials in ways that will not re-traumatize them.

“When clients come to us, they are traumatized. Our job is to help reduce that trauma in every way we can,” Schrandt said. “This is yet another step in helping to enhance their self-esteem, build their self-respect, and foster a sense of empowerment.”

Sustainability for LACASA is the Goal

LACASA Board Chair David Morse said the organization’s board of directors has been exploring the viability of a charity boutique for nearly two years.

“Our board has done its research about the success of resale shops throughout the state that are operated by domestic violence agencies,” said Morse. “This business venture has the potential to bring a new level of sustainability to LACASA. All proceeds from the boutique will directly fund programs and services for victims.

“The credo of our board is that safety has no price. That is why we focus on spearheading initiatives that will solidify a secure financial base for the agency…one that will sustain it well into the future.

“Unlike many nonprofits, LACASA is an independent organization,” Morse said. “We do not receive funding from a national parent agency, and we depend on community support to fulfill our mission. People assume federal grants cover our costs, which is not the case.”

While LACASA receives grants for designated programs, those grants require a financial commitment from the agency.

“There is no such thing as free money. We must match every federal grant we receive,” said Morse. “It’s on us to raise the matching funds that make it possible for vulnerable victims and their families to receive all services at no cost.”

Location, location, location

LACASA’s Board of Directors currently is scouting for a suitable boutique location in Livingston County.

“We need a large space that will accommodate a variety of departments for women, men, teens, and children,” Morse said.

In addition to clothing, LACASA’s new retail setting also will offer shoes, jewelry, fashion accessories, small household items, used books, and children’s toys.

The “Shop with Dignity Donation Drive” begins in January. Winter drop-off hours are weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at LACASA’s administrative office, 2895 W. Grand River Ave. in Howell. Tax receipts will be provided.

“The community always is generous when it comes to donating both funds and goods to help victims at LACASA,” Schrandt said. “Our new facility will enable us to have adequate space to store and display merchandise in a way that offers clients and the public a pleasurable shopping experience.”

All contributions to LACASA stay local and directly fund programs and services for victims and their families from Livingston County.

For more information, visit lacasacenter.org, or contact LACASA Community Engagement Director Deanna Norris at 517-548-1350 or dnorris@lacasacenter.org.

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