The nonprofit community store where all items are free
Located on Falmouth Street in Warrenton, Hope Heals Community Free Store is a shop that provides clothing and shoes for anyone in the community who needs it. It is also a place of hope, of community support and a place filled with compassionate and caring individuals who make a difference in the lives of many on a daily basis.
Lindsey Henderson started this journey approximately three and a half years ago by initiating a clothing drive to help those in need. “I heard people’s stories during the clothing drive and wanted to do more, and create a space for them to come into for their needs,” Henderson said.
About three years ago, Henderson fell in love with the current retail space, which offers a clean, streamlined environment that is easily perused by shoppers and offers easy access to those who are handicapped. “Our 1,500 square foot boutique-like space is located at 606 Falmouth Street, Suite A in Warrenton. We are within walking distance to the local motels and the Fauquier Family Shelter, which is a major demographic of those we are serving,” she shared.
“At Hope Heals Community Freestore our dream is a community built on relationships based on mutual aid and cooperation. Our mission is to provide an uplifting and empowering place where people can freely give and receive clothing and other essential items for the purpose of meeting the needs of our community and connecting people,” she explained. “Our hearts are to see lives forever changed through not only the giving of clothing and household items, but also through mentorship, relationship, and love. Love is free. Love is a gift. Love changes everything.”
Hope Heals depends on receiving its goods from community donations. “We do not require proof of income or put guidelines or parameters on who can benefit,” she detailed. Items include clothes, shoes, accessories, linens, toiletries, and baby gear. Henderson noted that immediate needs at the Freestore include men’s outerwear and blankets.
On average, Hope Heals Community Freestore serves 100-130 guests each day that it is open for shopping. In addition to normal retail operations, Hope Heals hosts an annual Toy Drive. “We are collecting new and very gently used toys for this event right after Thanksgiving,” Henderson shared. This year the Toy Drive will be held on Dec. 17, from 12:00 until 3:00 p.m. at the Warrenton Community Center. For toy donations, please ensure all toys are clean and include all parts.
“Hope Heals was created for relationships. The clothes are a means to get people in the door so we can form bonds and figure out how we can meet needs beyond even the clothing. A lot of our guests have no support from friends or family and our goal is to fill that void. We serve them coffee and oftentimes listen to them pour their hearts out about their current heartbreaking life situations,” she detailed.
On Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays the Hope Heals’ team sorts the goods and restocks inventory for its guests. Besides its store manager, Jeri Petty, the team consists of 100% volunteers. “It takes a village to keep the Freestore running, and we’re so grateful for the community support. For more information on what we take, or to see a video sneak peek of the inside of our store, please visit our website at www.hopehealsfreestore.org. If you have any questions or would like to become a volunteer please email us at email@example.com,” Henderson said.
For Henderson it is “an honor and a privilege to serve our community this way.” She emphasized that everyone who comes through the doors is a “precious gift” and they are blessed to be a part of it.