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Thrift store helps less fortunate

BUFORD - Helping people who can't help themselves is the motto of a newly formed Buford thrift store.

St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic society offering financial assistance to the needy nationwide, opened the thrift store a week ago with the help of St. Monica's Catholic Church in Buford.

The goal is to offer gently used clothing and household items to the community and then use the sales to help Gwinnett's less fortunate.

Staffed by volunteers from St. Monica's Catholic Church and other local churches, Julie Ciccone, a store manager and volunteer, said the store located at 1433 Buford Highway is filled with items such as clothing, kitchen supplies, books, CDs and more.

"People say it doesn't look like a thrift store, it looks more like a department store," Ciccone said. "That's what we were going for."

Though the facility has only been open since Jan. 7, Ciccone said the store has had a decent amount of customers.

"We have (had people come in)," Ciccone said. "But we could always have more."

Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Ciccone said shoppers and donations of gently used clothing and other household items are always welcome. Those looking to make a donation or more information about the store can call 770-271-1764.

Funds from the sale of the thrift store items are returned to St. Vincent de Paul and then used to help local families and individuals who need monetary, food and clothing assistance.

"This just does so much for so many," Ciccone said. "It just does so much good."

According to Ciccone, the society receives about 80 calls a week from people asking for assistance.

She said donations from local churches and individuals in addition to the money raised by the store are used to help the needy community with rent, groceries and other necessities. Ciccone said vouchers are also handed out to those in need, giving them the opportunity to exchange the tickets for clothing and other items inside the thrift store.

"It's so heart-warming what we're doing," Ciccone said. "Yep, this is what God was talking about. We're here to help."