The Village Shoppe: A Resource for All
The Villages relies heavily on in-kind donations to support foster parents and children coming into care, as well as participants in our Healthy Families, Family Connection Network, and Older Youth Services programs. These donations continuously create opportunities for our foster parents to say “yes” to caring for more children in their home; provide support for a Grandmother who is caring for her three grandchildren; and present an opportunity for dignity and joy for our older youth to “shop” for items that reflect their style.
The Villages has always accepted donations of new and some gently used items, with our Indianapolis office being the central hub where most donations are delivered. What we’ve lacked…the appropriate storage and distribution to effectively manage this generosity. Over the years donations were stored in several locations throughout the four-story office building. It was difficult to keep an inventory and even more difficult to locate specific items when needed. So, when case managers find themselves in an emergent situation, which is often, and need to gather essentials for children and youth quickly, this set-up left them searching through storage bins in multiple locations.
“It has been a dream for our team to have a dedicated, organized space where case managers and staff could access donations for emergency needs and children, youth, & foster parents could shop for what they liked and needed most. And now, this free shop has been made possible because of generous donors and volunteers, like you,” stated Sarah Cline, Director of Development.
This dream began to take shape in September of 2021 when The Villages began transforming an unfinished storage room into, what we now know as The Village Shoppe. Contractors completed the heavy lifting by installing new flooring and an electronic keyless entry. However, it was the generosity of multiple volunteers and staff who emptied the unfinished space, collected, and moved all the donations from each of the five storage areas, and spent weeks organizing donations by item and size, and finding the appropriate way to store and display them. The thoughtfulness and attention to detail, have transformed this new space to resemble more of a retail shop than a donation room. Shopping bags with The Village Shoppe logo are available for “shoppers” and plans to transform a small nook into a dressing room are being considered.
The Village Shoppe Grand Opening occurred in November 2021 and the response from staff and clients has been incredible. Foster parents appreciate the space, where they can comfortably “shop” for clothing for the growing children in their care. Children and older youth love to pick out the styles and colors of clothing that best reflect them. Staff appreciate the ease of pulling items for clients as well as the joy it brings to the children and families they serve. The opportunity for clients to select their own style clothing, toiletry brands, and basic essentials not only provide them with decision power but also promotes dignity and positive self-esteem.
Thank you to the following partners:
Lilly Volunteers with Lilly Global Day of Service
Avalon Wealth Advisory
Members of The Villages Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and Prevent Child Abuse Indiana Advisory Committee.
Want to contribute to The Village Shoppe? Visit our Donation Resources webpage.
Want to volunteer in The Village Shoppe? Ongoing volunteers who are willing to dedicate at least 4 hours a month, Monday through Friday between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM are needed. Duties include unpacking and sorting incoming donations; organizing items on shelves and racks; inventorying and identifying low stock. To learn more about volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org.