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Thrifting For A Cause In Naperville

Great deals and unique items can be found at resale shops throughout town, but some Naperville resale stores are using these treasures, to transform lives.

“We are at what we think is the most unique and charming shop in all of Downtown Naperville. This is called Serendipity,” said Little Friends, Inc. Vice President of Development, Kevin Burns.

This shop has been owned and operated for over 50 years by Little Friends Inc., which serves individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. It’s Jefferson Avenue location for nearly half that time.

“It is where treasure hunters go to find great bargains and while finding those bargains, build the lives of more than 800 of our clients from seven counties and 52 school districts to fulfill their lives regardless of challenge,” said Burns.

The thousands of people that shop and donate here each year bring in about $100,000 annually, to help fund programs at Little Friends.

“We rely on the generosity of individuals, mostly. Individuals provide their time, talent, and their treasure by donating it to Serendipity,” said Burns.

Volunteers like Sherry Binetti, who has a personal connection to Serendipity’s mission.

“I have a nephew that’s autistic and so I wanted to do something for Little Friends, for him,” said Binetti, who has volunteered at Serendipity for six years.

Just a few miles away, Second Chance Resale Shop is helping those affected by domestic violence, by benefiting Family Shelter Service.

“There’s about 200,000 victims of domestic violence that live in DuPage County. And you can know that when you shop here and you donate here, you’re directly helping your neighbors,” said Executive Director of Family Shelter Service, Judie Caribeaux.

Located near the corner of Ogden Avenue and Naper Boulevard, this shop, along with their other location in Westmont, adds around $300,000 to their bottom line each year. But their focus is more than just money.

“All of our clients get to shop here for free, whether they’re in our emergency shelter or they’re using our nonresidential counseling program, they’ll be able to shop here for free and the point is they’ll be able to rebuild their lives,” said Caribeaux.

And that rebuilding process can begin right in store.

“I can tell you that any woman or child that comes in here, is in a protected environment,” said Second Chance Resale Shop Manager, Linda Gentry.

The staff and volunteers at Second Chance are equipped to provide the necessary intervention and services to those needing to escape a bad situation.

Both stores are currently looking for more volunteers, and are always accepting donations and patronage.

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.


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