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Local thrift store helps more than 100 families in first year in business

Posted at 5:12 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 20:13:54-04

BUHL — Since opening its doors a year ago in the middle of a pandemic, the Buhl Family Network had a mission to donate 100% of its proceeds to help families in need.

And they stayed true to that mission. This is why when several families were displaced by a fire that broke out at the Meadowbrook Apartments last week, the nonprofit didn't hesitate to offer support.

“At this point, people are going to need to replenish their clothing and household items and so we’re going to be one of the stores that are going to help out with that we’re accepting donations for that merchandise, we are sorting it and getting it ready for them," said Priscilla Martens, president of the Buhl Family Network.

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One Meadowbrook resident was home during the fire and said she did as much as possible to try and help, even grabbing a fire extinguisher at one point.

“I heard it from my bedroom window and I ran down my stairs and I heard these guys say fire and I was like oh no this is family over here. I’ve lived here for three years. This is family," Christine Embretson, Meadowbrook resident, said.

Fortunately for Embertson, her apartment was not damaged but after hearing the Buhl Family Network was helping those affected by the fire, she decided to reach out and volunteer to help her neighbors.

“Oh, that’s what I do I help anybody out. Well, I try to. I do my best," Embertson said.

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Since the store's grand opening, they have helped more than 100 families who were struggling financially. They also provided free merchandise to those who could not afford it.

“We’re just really happy to be here because this is part of our mission is to help families in the community and so we are really happy to be able to participate in this and offer this merchandise to them at no cost," Martens said.

The nonprofit has also been able to start an employment program, allowing 15 to 17-year-olds to get work experience.

For one 17-year-old the opportunity meant being able to get her foot in the door.

“We’re just really happy to be here because this is part of our mission is to help families in the community and so we are really happy to be able to participate in this and offer this merchandise to them at no cost," Martens said.

“It’s a beginning job. I can start my life," said Adriana Cooper, an employee for Buhl Family Network.

In conjunction with the employee program, the nonprofit has also provided a teen drug education program which they have partnered with a local alternative high school to give those classes.

The nonprofit says it their goal to continue to provide as many resources to the community as possible.

“Our community has been supportive. Many people come in and say they’re so happy that we are here. Several times people have told me this is one of the few places they can shop because of course for low-income people it's affordable," Martens said.