Store will become part of Hope Missions International of Union, Mississippi
As of the signing of papers on Wednesday, one part of the House of Grace program will end but the mission and scope of the domestic violence shelter remain. Officials stress the loss of the thrift store will allow for a stronger focus on the mission of helping battered women.
House of Grace Board of Directors President Cheryl Mathis and Executive Director Sarita Drake told DeSoto County News that papers are being signed Wednesday that will transfer its Thrift Store over to Hope Missions International of Union, Mississippi.
Mathis and Drake said the thrift store is no longer doing what it was meant to do, which was to help fund the shelter, a home located at an undisclosed location where battered women and their children are sheltered.
“We get donations, which we are so grateful for,” said Drake. “We send the best ones to the thrift store. After they pay their employees, gas, light and water, the surplus goes to the shelter.”
But Mathis and Drake said the thrift store has been having trouble over the past year, either operating in the red or with little profit.
“We couldn’t let it pull down the shelter,” Drake said. “We’re doing this with heavy hearts because it’s been part of us for a long time.”
Adding to the stress is that the House of Grace took a major hit in funding this year when $148,000 in federal grant money it was supposed to get was not funded. Several MIssissippi shelters also lost grant funding under the same program. That loss for the House of Grace meant three full-time employees had to be let go.
However, they say the mission will remain the same and without the thrift store the House of Grace can put a stronger focus on the shelter and the work of helping victims of domestic violence.
“We’re still going to meet the needs of our clients,” Drake said. “Whether they’re in the shelter or whether they’re what we call non-residential.”
Mathis said there will be some partnership that will allow the House of Grace to get things needed for the clients who come for help from the store.
“They’re going to run the store and it’s going to be under their name but we will still be able to help the victims of domestic violence,” Mathis said. “Usually they come without any clothes except what they are wearing, so we will be able to go over there and get them clothes or furniture if we find them another place to live. We’ll still be doing that for our clients.”
Beyond the shelter, the House of Grace also provides legal and counseling services and assists in finding employment. The House of Grace has been in existence since May 1998, serving nine north Mississippi counties and the Memphis metropolitan area. Offices are located at 8535 U.S. Highway 51 North in Southaven.
In viewing their Facebook page, Hope Missions International states is “strives to give hope, help, and healing to the hurting. (abuse, addiction, homeless, hungry).” A similar thrift store recently reopened in Meridian.
“They seemed very kind and very willing to work with us,” Drake said.
Photo: House of Grace Thrift Store in Southaven. The facility will become part of Hope Missions International, based in Union, Mississippi. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)