Meet the Forces Behind our Clothing Closet

Some call it “the clothing closet.” Some call it the “GRACE Boutique.” But to everyone who visits, shops, or volunteers there, it’s about so much more than the clothes.

Over the past few years, we’ve been lucky enough to have some of the most amazing volunteers pour their hearts into creating what has become one of the crown jewels of our volunteer programs - the GRACE Boutique. Set up to resemble a small retail shop, our guests come through and “shop” for what they need, from winter coats to work boots to summer dresses. Everything is clean, sorted by season and style, and presented in a way that emphasizes our core value of respect. And none of it would be possible without our Jean, Jan, Nancy, and Lori.

Together, they volunteer about 100 hours a month to make sure people can find what they need, and have some say in how they dress and present themselves to the world. The Boutique operates twice a week, staffed by Jean, Nancy, Jean, Lori, and volunteers from the Downtown Rotary Club.

When asked about her motivation to do this work, Jan said, “It’s the guests at GRACE that keeps me coming back.” For Lori, “Being at GRACE is an eye-opening experience. It’s a place for second chances and a way to be able to give and feel the love from our community.”

Throughout my time at GRACE, I have witnessed many selfless acts from these ladies. From remembering a specific guest’s request for a pair of shoes, helping a nervous candidate coordinate an outfit for a job interview, or hunting down a pair of reading glasses, they go out of their way to ensure that our guests have what they need and feel seen, heard, and cared for.

We couldn’t be more grateful to have these wonderful ladies on board. Their dedication to helping people on their journey to housing is truly inspiring. If you’d like to join the forces behind our clothing closet, Nancy wants you to know that “we’re always in need of more volunteers!”

If you’d like to lend a hand and help brighten someone’s day, please contact us at volunteer@gracemarketplace.org or (352) 792-0800 x104.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Lauren Poe
Mayor, Gainesville, FL
"They're doing remarkable work and changing the lives of hundreds and hundreds of people."
Dr. Bernie Machen
President Emeritus, UF
"GRACE's early success represents a truly remarkable launch of a much-needed community resource."

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