A charity story in Barrie is closing its doors because it can no longer afford to stay open, stoking fears that people in-need will lose access to necessary items during the winter months.
Staff members at the Glowing Heart Give and Get Centre say, amid the pandemic, they can no longer afford the space they are operating out of on Bradford St, nor any others they have explored. The store collects donations of gently used clothing, toys, and household items, and gives them back to people in need in the community.
"Unfortunately, as of tomorrow, our doors will be closing," said Glowing Hearts Give and Get Centre President, Cindy Thompson. "We've had a lot of difficulty raising funds over the past little while, so we made a very difficult decision that we'd have to close the storefront."
Thompson says they are not closing the charity. "We're going to, kind of see what we can do behind the scenes."
On Saturday, shoppers expressed their sadness over the closure. "90 percent of my wardrobe comes out of this place," said one man. "It's really sad."
"They have snowsuits, sweaters, pants, anything...you need it, they have it," said another woman. "And it's getting cold quick, so yeah, a lot of people are going to miss it."
Staff also expressed their concern for the people in the community who rely on the store. "Unfortunately, thousands of people are going to suffer as a result," said Thompson. "We do back-to-school drives, we do Christmas help. We reach out, in as many ways as we possibly can, to help those that need us."
Thompson's father, Frank Nelson, who has since passed away, started the centre. "We started with the idea that there's a lot of items that people no longer need, and there's also a lot of people in need of those items," said Thompson.
Thompson is happy people have been taking advantage of the store over the last few weeks as temperatures dipped. "We've received over the last couple of weekends hundreds of people coming in, and I'm just so happy that they're able to come in to get what they need. To stock up, even for upcoming seasons."
Staff wanted to go out in a big way, with a 'bundle-up blowout,' giving away as much of their inventory as possible to those who need it. The store will officially close as of 3 p.m. Sunday.
Thompson says they are open to the idea of reopening the store again at another location if they are able to secure funding in the future.