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Community Resource Center’s resale shops reopen, fill with donations

CRC accepts donations from local food drive
Yanira Frias, CRC food and nutrition program manager, Debbie Murray, CRC chief development officer, receive donations from Judy Berlfein, who helped organize an Encinitas Highlands food drive.
(Courtesy)

The Community Resource Center (CRC)’s resale shops reopened on May 29 with new hours and guidelines for shopping and donations, following CDC and county safety advisories to help ensure the health and safety of customers, donors and staff. The resale stores in Encinitas, Carlsbad and San Marcos are a critical funding source supporting the nonprofit’s mission to end hunger, homelessness and domestic violence in North County San Diego.

After being closed for months due to the pandemic, the stores saw a huge uptick in donations.

“We love all the support and it is a great blessing to have, but it also has been a challenge during these times to keep up with and process the amount of donations we received,” said Sarah Ferry, CRC chief operating officer.

The CRC shop has adapted by limiting hours and the items that can be donated.

Ferry encourages those with donations to call ahead, review the new donation guidelines online and, if possible, hold their donations for a few weeks to help staff process and sell current inventory. As more customers purchase items, space is freed up to display more donations.

Some of the items that CRC cannot accept at this time include linens and blankets, electronics, stuffed animals, oversized furniture, baby equipment, books and mattresses.

Donations are currently only accepted at the resale store on Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a..m. to 3 p.m. Ferry discourages people from leaving items when they are closed, “We cannot use the items left unattended because we can’t verify their safety,” she said.

The CRC store disinfects surfaces every 45 minutes, quarantines donations for three days and has implemented touchless credit card transactions. For those who want or need contact-less buying, CRC is doing online sale events on Facebook Live.

Volunteers from Hope for San Diego helped out at the CRC shop.
(Courtesy)

With the influx of donations, Ferry said volunteers are invaluable— many of their regular volunteers are among the at-risk population that need to stay home at this time. With safety and distancing protocols in place, Ferry said the stores could always use more volunteers.

As a provider of wrap-around, integrative services, CRC’s programs include a domestic violence emergency shelter, domestic violence hotline, a Therapeutic Children’s Center, professional counseling, legal advocacy, food and nutrition distribution center, homelessness prevention, and rental and housing assistance. Proceeds from the store not only help fund CRC programs but, in many cases, donated items are used when they place clients into housing. “We want it to feel like home for them,” said Deborah Murray, CRC chief development officer.

“As experienced by other social services nonprofits, we are seeing more folks coming to us for food and an increase in calls to our emergency support line for domestic violence,” Murray said.

The CRC’s food and nutrition center staff and volunteers distribute a pre-packed bag of non-perishable food along with a box of fresh food – dairy, meat, vegetables, fruit – and bread, donated by local grocery stores and community groups. Participants can alert the food pantry of any food allergies or dietary needs so the box can be prepared accordingly.

Food distribution is Monday through Friday. Participants include individuals who are homeless, seniors, people who are unable to work because of a disability, people whose employment has been affected by COVID-19 and are in need of emergency food, individuals affected by domestic violence and people who are working with a CRC case manager to gain self-sufficiency.

Currently, the CRC’s emergency food distribution program is serving about 50 households each weekday and the CRC’s priority is making sure their inventory of non-perishable food remains fully stocked. Thankfully during the pandemic, the community has stepped up to support those efforts.

“In these last few months, it has been remarkable to see how many people have reached out to us and asked how they can help us. That is just further confirmation of how wonderful and supportive this community is,” Murray said.

As just two examples of neighborhood generosity: Residents Mark and Lynette Walton held a successful food drive for Easter and Encinitas Highlands residents Judy Berlfein, Betsy Seible, Barbara Bolton and Jack Ross organized a drive that collected 1,800 non-perishable food items and $2,295 in donations.

“For me personally, this has been the most rewarding time during my career, knowing that I can be a source of help to my neighbors when they need help the most,” Murray said. “That’s an amazing thing to be a part of.”

The CRC Encinitas Resale Store is located at 1331 Encinitas Boulevard. To call ahead about donations, call (760) 753-8222.

Contact-less donation drop-offs of food and personal care items can be made Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. via the alley behind CRC’s office at 650 Second St. in Encinitas. To donate money or learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit crcncc.org

Reach the CRC’s domestic violence hotline at (877) 633-1112.


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