Nearly three months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Family & Children’s Service (FCS) Thrift Boutique in Long Branch, forcing it to close its doors and causing significant revenue loss for the century-old nonprofit; the store is set to reopen to the public Tuesday, Feb. 19.
The agency plans a special ticketed Preview Event, Friday, Feb. 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to give supporters a first look at the new store, which has been completely restored and refurbished thanks to a generous grant from the Robin Hood Relief Fund and help from dozens of area organizations and businesses.
“Family & Children’s Service’s mission is to serve people at vulnerable times in their lives through education, intervention, care and counseling,” says Debbie O’ Donoghue, Chair of the FCS Board of Directors. “When Sandy destroyed our thrift store, we experienced first hand what it is to be vulnerable, to need others to come to your aid. We are tremendously grateful for the support given by our friends and neighbors throughout the Jersey Shore community. Their compassion and concern, along with their valuable gifts of time, money and resources made it possible for us to reopen and reestablish this vital community service.”
The FCS Thrift Boutique, located at 307 Branchport Ave., sustained significant damage from Hurricane Sandy. More than four feet of flood waters entered the store, destroying the interior and wiping out the entire donated inventory. The agency applied received a $10,000 grant from the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which raised funds for Sandy relief through a special benefit concert. The money is being used to purchase much-needed building supplies and essential equipment lost during the storm, including a new safe, cash register, telephone and mannequins.
In addition to the Robin Hood grant, the Boutique received contributions from the clothing retailer The Talbots, Inc®, which donated thousands of dollars in fixtures and shelving, and Woodhaven Lumber & Millwork, Inc., which supplied free paint, lumber and painting supplies. O’Donoghue says FCS is also grateful to members of the Ranney School Parents Association who, along with a group of Ranney students known as The Rockin Angels, conducted a school wide clothing drive to replenish the store’s inventory.
“Since the store remained closed throughout the repairs, it was difficult for us to accept and store donations at our office,” O’Donoghue says. “The Ranney School’s clothing drive ensures a wide selection of merchandise will be available to our customers once we reopen, the proceeds of which will help fund our dozen programs and services.”
Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 19, the FCS Thrift Boutique will begin accepting donations during normal business hours which are: noon to 5 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
FCS Thrift Boutique supporters who wish to purchase a $20 ticket to the Preview Event on February 15th are asked to RSVP to Manager of Volunteer Services Samantha White at 721-222-9111 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets may be purchased at FCS’s offices at 191 Bath Avenue in Long Branch or at the FCS Thrift Boutique the afternoon of the event. The FCS Thrift Boutique is also actively seeking volunteers. For updates about the FCS Thrift Boutique, visit the agency’s website at www.fcsmonmouth.org or follow the store’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thethriftboutique.