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KARE opens new facility on Marion Street

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By Denyse Clark

KERSHAW – Kershaw Area Community Resource Exchange (KARE) held a grand opening of its clothing closet April 26 in its new facility at 206 E. Marion St. 

The event consisted of a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by the Kershaw Chamber of Commerce,  Kershaw Town Council, KARE’s Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and about 60 community members.  

“Throughout the day, 250 shoppers celebrated with us and over 1,200 items were sold on this day,” said Donna Hartley McKittrick, KARE executive director. 

The newly renovated 8,000-square-feet space was made possible by the volunteers of the community and KARE’s building committee comprised of David Cox of DC Development, Kenny Catoe, Billy Taylor, Frank Ferguson, C.W. Reese, Jeannette Pittman, Earl Ogburn, Angie Neal, Donna Sawyer and McKittrick. 

Renovations will be made in two phases. 

The first phase has been completed.

 “Phase I was the clothing store, which has taken about six months,” she said. “Phase II will be office space for crisis assistance and the food pantry. We anticipate to have Phase II complete by mid-July.” 

Local businesses, including Haile Gold Mine, Home Depot and YouthBuild of Lancaster, also invested time in the renovation.

McKittrick explained the origins of this community ministry which began more than three decades ago.

“Thirty-two years ago, a group of 10 women started a clothing closet in The Bell House, a space donated by the First Presbyterian Church,” she said. “These women had a vision of trading and selling clothing to help families with clothing needs, but they soon realized they could take sale proceeds and help pay a family’s power bill or some other unforeseen circumstance, hence, the birth of KARE.”  

Today, KARE’s clothing store is “the heart” of three other programs including crisis assistance, a food pantry and Youth Serve, McKittrick said.

“Through community clothing and household donations, items are sold at very reasonable prices,” she said. “Most clothing items are $1, allowing people to afford and to share with others. There is a sense of pride when a grandmother on a fixed income can come in and pick out something for a grandchild while others may come in looking for a bargain.”

McKittrick said 100 percent of the sale proceeds go to help town neighbors keep adequate shelter, heating, cooling, water and food when facing “a financial dilemma.”  

“With proceeds from the clothing closet, churches, individuals and foundation awards, KARE was able to assist 9,700 people with these basic needs last year,” she said.

For more information about KARE, call McKittrick at (803) 475-4173. 

 

 Contact reporter Denyse Clark at (803) 283-1152