Throughout Hernando County, area nonprofit agencies have many exciting developments "in store"--spreading helpful supplements of sunshine every step of the way.
People Helping People is now participating in the Agency Empowered Retail Program (AERP), a special program coordinated through Feeding America and Feeding Tampa Bay designed to bring refrigerated and frozen food items to those in need. PHP's partner in this program is Dollar General, 6120 Commercial Way in Spring Hill.
"We work with Feeding Tampa Bay and a few months ago I read in their monthly newsletter about the program and asked for more information. They explained what it was about and I said that we would like to participate," said Becky Burton, Executive Director of People Helping People in Hernando County, Inc. "I worked with FTB to get “on the list.” It took a couple of months but we started it a few weeks ago. Some weeks they give us an abundance of dairy and refrigerated products but we are happy to give it away to those in need."
As a part of this program, PHP volunteers pick up items that are close to the sell-by date; foods that otherwise would be discarded in the dumpster. These items then become available to anyone in need who visits the PHP HELP Center, 1396 Kass Circle, in Spring Hill. Descriptions of the available items will be available each Tuesday on Facebook for free pickup at PHP, 9 am-2 pm. Items are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some of the items available include milk, orange juice, canned biscuits, sour cream, and lunch meat.
"Some people do not like that the dates are close to the sell-by date but I try to explain to people that it doesn’t mean that it spoils on that date. It’s still good," said Burton. "Other than that, most people are grateful to get the items."
As another component of this philanthropic program, the AERP called upon Dollar General and other grocery and retail stores to donate in kind donations of perishable food to the PHP Mobile Food Distribution Wednesday, July 28, at the agency HELP Center.
Dollar General and Feeding America initially began testing food donations in summer 2020 in several Indianapolis and Atlanta-area stores, and Dollar General recently expanded its donation footprint to its DG Fresh cold storage facilities. In 2020, Dollar General’s donations provided more than two million meals to those in need.
In other retail developments, Jericho Road Ministries is launching an online thrift store at www.shopjerichoroad.com.
"We will be having our own website and also partnering with ebay, poshmark, etc. This will be launching Tuesday August 3rd. We are going to start off selling vintage and name brand clothing and accessories," said Alyssa Nienhuis, Online Thrift Coordinator at Jericho Road Ministries. "In the future, we are hoping to expand our collection to include unique vintage items and home decor. Just like our other four thrift stores all our proceeds will go to help our food distribution and shelters."
Jericho's four thrift stores, located across Hernando County, serve to fund the agency's shelters and recovery program. This online branch will provide a new way for the store to sell donated goods in a safe and easy to use Internet-based forum. The online store will come complete with a national shipping option, as well as an option to add a donation to any online thrift store order.
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