After several break-ins, this thrift store decided to let people shop for free

·1 min read

It's a Merry Thrift-mas on the north Island.

After repeated break-ins and incidents where people would rummage through the store's trash bins, the Qualitown Thrift Store in Campbell River has started a program to let homeless persons shop for free.

Manager Caroline Bleany decided to open the doors with the hope the crimes would stop if people had what they needed.

Now, every second Monday from noon until 2 p.m. PT, people who are homeless can stop in for a hot meal and shop for free.

"We thought that creating this program is going to be a better avenue for us to actually give them what they need," said Bleany.

She says the idea came to her after catching people stealing directly from the store.

Qualitown Thrift Store/Facebook
Qualitown Thrift Store/Facebook

They've only held one free shopping session so far, but Bleany says she thinks it's already starting to make a difference.

"We try also to be [in] a relationship with them, letting them know that ... we want to help. We want to work here as a community to reach out to you guys," she said.

In addition to pointing the customers toward things like blankets, clothing and shoes, Bleany said they also put out hot coffee, milk, fruit and baked goods.

Bleany shied away from sharing how much it costs the run the program, saying cost is not what's important.

"The most important thing for us ... is to let these people know that we love them. We want to spread love," she said.