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Save “N” Serve joins ranks of thrift shops in the Manassas area

Five books for $1. Golf clubs for $2 each Clothes for the same prices are some of the bargains smart shoppers can find at the newly opened Save “N” Serve Thrift Store in Manassas.

Best of all, proceeds from the fully stocked store are kept in the community to help those in need.
SERVE, the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Family Services, helps nearly 33,000 clients each year with 52 percent of whom live in Prince William County.

“Profits from the items we sell go to assist families ranging from food and financial support to providing shelter to the homeless to children and youth services,” said Heather West, one of eight part-time employees staffing the store.

To stock the store, donations of “gently used condition” clothing, shoes, dishes, small household furniture (lamps, end tables, chairs, etc.) books, knick knacks, jewelry, electronics, area rugs, hand tools, small appliances, sports/workout equipment, flat panel televisions, holiday items and toys are accepted.

“We feel we have a really good store with a wide variety of items from which the public can choose—and they keep telling us they enjoy coming in,” said West.

She said new items are added daily so customers can always find something that wasn’t in the shop earlier.

Another employee, Pattie Lane, said she too appreciated people coming in or making donations because “the more money we make the more we can help the community. It makes the community richer.”

She said baby clothes and household items were the biggest sellers.
“In many of the cases the baby outfits are almost like new at a fraction of what they originally cost,” Lane said.

Also popular this time of the year are Thanksgiving and Christmas items, most ranging in the price range of 48 cents to $4.98

The store is located at 10360 Portsmouth Road. It is the third store operated by NVFS with others at Centreville and Falls Church. Kristin Lopez Dupree is the manager. This is the second time SERVE has operated a thrift shop as the earlier one closed many years ago.

Volunteers play a major role in the operation of the store, keeping labor cost down so more money can be made to help the needy.

Some of the functions of SERVE include:

* More than 900 families receive a one-week supply of food each month.

* Last year SERVE received 1.2 million pounds of donated food, all of which was distribute4d to needy families.

* Over $163,000 in cash assistance helped 920 households make utility and rent payments last year.
* Close to 65,000 meals were served at the shelter last year.

* Health Link connects uninsured children and adults with free and low-cost access to dental and medical care. More than 1,400 clients received dental assistance totaling $236,000 over a six-month period.

* Life skills programs teach client resume writing and interviewing skills, computer training, financial education, parenting, nutrition and more.

* SERVE’s 60-bed shelter provided a safe place to sleep to more than 400 people, including 207 families last year. Children occupied 40 percent of those beds.

* Classroom-based Early Head Start provides a safe, educational environment for low-income children ages 0-3 whose parents work during the day.

The store, located in a former spa, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 to 5 on Sundays.

Music playing the background keeps employees and customers in a good frame of mind. Several of the employees are former workers at the Kmart that closed recently and are glad to again to have a job.

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