Last updated: December 27. 2013 7:44PM - 673 Views
STACY KESS skess@civitasmedia.com

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An end-of-the-year donation to the Common Ground Free Store created a larger fundraising push for the end of the year.

The Free Store, community closet offering free clothing, shoes, diapers and linens, books, toys and household goods to those in need of support, is asking donors to give a financial gift before the end of the year to take part in a matching donation opportunity.

“We had two people approach us anonymously and offer us $1,500 for a matching gift,” said Free Store executive director Lori Falk. “It’s open to anyone who wants to send a check, big or small. They know their donation will be doubled.”

Falk sent out a letter to volunteers asking for participation for the last fundraiser of the year, but said it’s not limited to volunteers.

“I specifically (wrote the letter) to our volunteers because they know what it’s all about,” she said. “It’s been a very tough year for families. Gift wise and donations – both what people drop off to us and financial donations – the community’s been very generous to us.”

Although the final numbers for 2013 have not yet been calculated, Falk estimated that the Free Store will have served approximately 5,000 families this year, with an average of 3.6 people per family.

“So it will be well over 18,000 this year,” she said. “Such big numbers for such a little place.”

She said the Free Store, which celebrated its 7th birthday in September, served a record number of families this year and is looking to serve more families next year.

It’s a success that marvels Falk, but that the community sees, she said. The Free Store was awarded with the 2013 Hometown Hero Award from Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial, and was the first organization to be chosen for the award that has previously been awarded to individuals in Delaware.

The Free Store was also give a Delaware Gazette Reader’s Choice Award for the second year in a row, a highlight of the Free Store’s year, Falk said.

“It shows how much the community supports and shares in the mission of the free store,” she said. “It shows me that it’s people who take care of people.”

Falk said donors can support the Free Store in its final fundraiser through the Web site, www.commongroundfreestore.org/Support.php, or by contacting the Free Store at info@commongroundfreestore.org or by calling 740-369-3733.

The Free Store is supported by community churches, organizations, businesses and charities through donations and does not charge those who use its services. It regularly partners with other area agencies to serve the community that includes 2200 Delaware residents identified as living below the poverty line, though the Free Store does not ask for income requirements of those that use it’s services.

“There are no income requirements, no questions and no scrutiny; only the support of people who care,” according to the Free Store statement. “God’s mercy does not come with a price tag.”

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