Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

REACH of Macon County has been serving the community since 1989, providing prevention and intervention services to domestic and sexual assault victims, the Reach for Bargains thrift store has served as an additional resource for those in need.

“The REACH thrift store’s revenue not only goes back to support all of our services – emergency shelter, court advocacy, prevention education, safety planning and assessment, youth advocacy, and wrap around services to name  a few – but it also serves as a crucial material resource for clients,” said June Hernandez, manager of the REACH for Bargains Thrift Store. “Clients are able to benefit from the use of the store when they transition from the emergency shelter into their own independent home and when they enter the shelter. So often, victims come to REACH, fleeing abusive homes, with only the clothes on their backs. The store’s merchandise and resources allow clients to seek immediate material assistance that fills in the gap.”

While the store has been serving the community since 1992, revenues have increased since the shop came under new management three years ago.

“Since new management took over the REACH for Bargains Thrift Store in 2014, we have been able to increase our revenue significantly,” said Hernandez. “This has been accomplished with many hours of hard work from the team members working diligently to make this store a ”must come to” in our community.”

Recognizing the improvements at the store, Best Things North Carolina, powered by American Towns Media just named REACH for Bargains a Top 10 thrift store in North Carolina.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Hernandez.

“REACH’s success is not only due to our hard working team, but is due to the tremendous community support we receive from businesses, other agencies, and volunteers,” said Andrea Anderson, director of REACH. “We are fortunate to partner with an amazing community that supports and values the services we provide.”

The REACH for Bargains thrift store is located at 159 Heritage Hollow Drive.

REACH’s recognition comes just before National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is set to kick off next week. Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level.

Statistics show that 4,774,000 women in the U.S. experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year and one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Domestic violence serves as the third leading cause of homelessness among families and each year, two million injuries and 1,300 injuries and 1,300 deaths are caused as a result of domestic violence. Three women are murdered every day by an intimate partner.

Locally, REACH of Macon County saw 557 unduplicated victims of domestic violence from July 1 to June 30, 2016 and 130 victims of sexual assault in the same time frame. REACH provided court advocacy services to 1,097 contacts and 1,662 housing assistance contacts.

Anyone needing assistance can contact REACH at 828.269.5544. Advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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