Second Chances Thrift Store Gives Women a Second Chance


coaster-news-200-newBy DENISE HERSCHEL

A benefit for the Second Chances Thrift Store in Neptune City, an arm of Redeem-Her, an organization which helps women who have been incarcerated, is scheduled for Sept. 17 at Christ Church in Sycarmore from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The concept of the organization was birthed in 2003 behind the walls of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Clinton, New Jersey. A resource center was set up with a resume-writing workshop for more than 200 women; a hospice program; and recreational tournaments with hundreds of participants.
In 2005 a Board of Trustees was established and Redeem-Her was incorporated in New Jersey as a 501(c) 3 non-profit that gives women a second chance.
According to Prudence White, Board Chair, Redeem-Her Board of Trustees, the idea was “developed by these two women who were incarcerated at this New Jersey facility, the only women’s prison in the state.”
“They recognized that women returning to society needed more support than was available. When they were released, they began providing simple items like clothing and toiletries to the formerly incarcerated women,” White said.
In the fall of 2008, the Second Chances Thrift Store in Neptune City opened it’s doors. As the main source of income for the Redeem-Her organization, it has proved to be a vital lifeline for the organization. The store has many faithful customers who come on a weekly basis looking for an assortment of items ranging from knick-knacks to clothing and holiday decor at reasonable prices.
“We were able to open with the help and assistance of Monmouth University and a group of business students. Our store offers everything – women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, shoes, books, jewelry, pocketbooks, household goods and furniture. I have volunteered at the thrift store since it opened in 2008. Volunteers are a very important part of our organization and we always need more,” White said.
As part of what they do, Redeem-Her also offers transitional housing to a maximum of eight women in recovery. The home is located in Toms River and all of the women are those who have returned from jail, prison, or rehab. All who live in the house must have a job, practice a strong recovery program and abide by all house rules, parole and probation. As Redeem-Her also operates the Second Chances shop, it has served as a place of employment for many of the women in recovery.
“It is mandatory that the women become gainfully employed during the first two weeks of their stay at Redeem-Her House. Employment is a crucial step in the beginning of the recovery process because it promotes positive characteristics that are necessary in their ives and especially on their personal recovery journeys,” White said.
Fundraising is another important element of the Redeem-Her organization and for the first time they are holding a benefit sale called “The Art of Dressing.” Set for September 17 at Christ Church, Route 35 and Sycamore Avenue, Shrewsbury from 10 am to 4:30 pm. All proceeds from the sale of new and gently used dresses will benefit the organization. To date, more than 500 dresses have been collected. Dresses will range in price from $10 to $50. For more information call 732-776-7006.

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