Impact Center to revamp voucher store
By Corey Davis
Friday, February 17, 2017
Trishonda Roberson knew that Word Tabernacle Church’s Impact Center needed another location to house the large amount of clothing coming in from people in the Twin Counties to help victims of Hurricane Matthew.
“All of the clothes from people sending for emergency assistance from the flood were outside on the table of the church,” said Roberson, executive director of the Impact Center. “We just felt we wanted people to have that experience of shopping of trying on clothes, looking through the racks and not digging through piles of clothes on the table or in a bag. It said something about showing dignity to those unfortunate.”
Last November, the church through a partnership with Golden East Crossing mall signed a lease to open Thrive Essentials. The space has been used for people affected by the flood to come in with vouchers through the Impact Center’s reach program and shop free of charge for men’s, women’s and children’s donated fall and winter clothing and also some women’s and children’s shoes.
Roberson said people with vouchers are allowed to come to Thrive Essentials twice to shop for clothing. The initial plan was to probably close the store at the end of last year, but Word Tabernacle Church has decided to keep the space open.
Thrive Essentials currently is closed to the public, but Roberson said the plan is to re-open it at the beginning of March. She added Thrive Essentials is going to continue to be operated by volunteers, and the church is in need of more volunteer help.
The volunteers are working to shift the store from fall and winter clothes to spring and summer clothing, Roberson said. In the case of the volunteers, Roberson added, being involved in Thrive Essentials is part of the Impact Center’s efforts to help people get hands-on job skills needed to help with future employment opportunities.
“A big piece of why we wanted to do this from a different angle was allowing this to be a job-training site where people can come in and get customer service skills, time management skills and keep them connected to a mentor,” Roberson said.
Once Thrive Essentials re-opens, Roberson said, in addition to people affected by the flood getting clothes from vouchers through the reach program, people in other emergency cases such as victims of house fires will be a targeted group, which the church hopes will utilize Thrive Essentials.
The church also will receive referrals from other organizations through the reach program. Also, people coming to the mall will be able to shop at Thrive Essentials for a low cost, Roberson added.
“This is new territory for us, so we’re looking at different models not just in Rocky Mount but around the region and state,” Roberson said. “We’re sort of looking at the concept of seeing this as like a thrift store. The money that people are going to pay for the clothing is going to help continue to push what we’re doing with our emergency assistance type stuff such as helping people with their rent or utility bills.”
Once Thrive Essentials re-opens, its hours of operations will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and possibly Saturdays depending on volunteer help, Roberson said.