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Project Share resale shop seeks to expand

by Kaden Quinn | May 10, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

If the Project Share resale shop doesn't expand, it won't have room to operate properly.

Adjacent to the Moniteau Christian Ministries Center's (MCMC) Cargill Cares Food Pantry is Project Share, a storefront that sells clothing and other items at a low cost to individuals in need. According to staff, customers come in every week to buy affordable clothes for their families and friends. According to the website, Project Share also "provides free clothing each month to those requesting clothing assistance." However, as the shop continues to grow, it's running out of space.

Representatives from the MCMC told the Democrat the facility is going to have to expand to keep up with its increasing inventory.

MCMC board President Steve Miller said Project Share is running very short of selling space. He said the shop is how the organization pays for its overhead. What volunteers sell in the shop is what pays the bills for the MCMC.

Fortunately, the MCMC is receiving a lot of assistance from the community. The California Eagles Club hosted a fundraiser dinner and auction on April 29 to benefit the organization's latest effort. Although the final number of funds hasn't been calculated yet, Miller reported the Eagles served 300 meals. One of the biggest fundraisers they've dealt with, according to MCMC board Vice President and Project Share co-manager Lina Eddy.

Funds from this event as well as the future fundraisers will contribute to the cost of construction. The plan for the shop is to expand it outward toward its storage garage. This will give customers more space to move around while shopping and volunteers mobility as they stock and repackage inventory.

"In the back, there's a bunch of women who go through all the donations, clean them up if they need to be cleaned up, price them and put them out on the shop. So we need space in the back also," Eddy said. "And the hope is that we give enough space that we can stay handicap accessible, which is really important to us. And that we can start building more racks and getting stuff out there."

Part of the board's main priority is to keep the facility wheelchair accessible as well as to keep it open for parents with strollers. Miller said the expansion would take care of this problem.

While the MCMC expansion is still in the early phase of planning, they do have a rough estimate for the project. Miller said the most expensive price they could take for expanding comes out to $200,000. Although, the cost is flexible.

The MCMC worked with a contracting team to determine what the expansion entails. Miller said it was given two computer-generated images of the proposed facility expansion. The images depicted two sizes for the facility, the larger of which was estimated to cost $200,000. However, he explained the nonprofit could save money by building a smaller facility.

Currently, there is no official decision on plans for the expansion made by the board. Eddy said it would like to get two more bids before it officially starts working on the project or applying for grants.

"We have a grant writing committee, and we're in the process of looking for grants that will help us furnish the building," Eddy said. "That's still in the beginning stages. We want to wait until we have some firm figures of what it's gonna cost and some firm idea of what it's going to look like before we walk into a grant."

The Project Share resale shop has two people working the counter at all times during store hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Although the store is only open three days a week, Eddy said the store is self-sufficient in everything it does. In 2022, volunteerscontributed 6,121 hours to Project Share.

"We're probably one of the more healthy organizations around here because some are really struggling. But we are not struggling," Eddy said. "We are self-sufficient, which is really cool. And the hope is that, as we build on that we'll continue to be self-sufficient. And I think that will happen because we keep seeing a lot of folks coming our way and coming to Project Share and buying stuff there. There's nowhere else you can get a pair of jeans for two bucks and everything that gets gets put out on the store is in good condition."

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