Deal Diva: Grand Strand thrift store offers low prices while helping the homeless
United Outreach Ministries opens a thrift store to make hygiene packages for homeless.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A Myrtle Beach thrift store took over the old ISI Training building on Waccamaw Boulevard back in January.
The founder of the organization said he saw a need in the community and wanted to do something about a problem he felt no one was addressing.
Alan Marlowe, president of United Outreach Ministries, said he retired five years ago and wanted a way to spend his time. He said he noticed the homeless population in Horry County.
“You can get food, you can find a place to stay, but they don’t address the needs of hygiene, and hygiene is a very important part that nobody seems to think about,” Marlowe said.
So, after much thought, he opened the thrift store with the idea of using all of the profits - after building expenses - to provide hygiene packages for the homeless.
“We do about 200 packages each month. It’s a drop in the bucket," said Marlowe. “Shampoo, deodorant, mouthwash, anything that’s associated with being clean, and then we have packages for women that includes feminine hygiene products. That’s a very important thing. You want to fit in. In order to fit in, you have to be clean.”
The store is operated with volunteer staff so all the money "goes toward the cause instead of salaries,” Marlowe said.
When customers browse the aisles, they’ll find plenty of clothes, shoes, handbags, appliances, and even brand new furniture.
“We’re very blessed to have the donations that we have. We get high-quality merchandise. We even get new furniture from a major retailer, so we’re blessed with what we have,” Marlowe said.
He said he wanted customers to come in and shop with confidence, knowing they are getting a good deal while also helping those in need in their community.
“Some shirts in stores are $20 or $25. You can buy our best shirt here for $4.99,” Marlowe said.
Anyone interested in donating to United Outreach Ministries can stop by during store hours. There’s even a drop-off box outside for after hours.
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