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For a good cause

For a good cause

There's a great opportunity for the Hays community to change the lives of the mentally disabled. It is an organization called The ARC of Central Plains. This foundation has a thrift store stationed right across from Gella's on 11th Street.

How does The ARC help the mentally disabled? The ARC runs a thrift store, which donates all of the money it generates toward activities for the mentally disabled. While Goodwill is a fine choice for a thrift shop to visit, The ARC is different. All the profits fund activities for the intellectually challenged right here at home. One of these well-known activities is the Special Olympics. All of the money stays local, and patrons can walk away from the store knowing they've contributed to a noble cause.

Not only does The ARC make sure programs like the Special Olympics continue, but it is run by an all-volunteer staff as well. How amazing is that? Volunteers make sure the thrift shop is up and running six days a week. They believe in The ARC's mission, giving of their time to make sure the mentally disabled enjoy many activities. Their warm smiles and eagerness to negotiate prices on items add to the relaxed environment the shop offers.

On top of the activities and volunteers, The ARC's store has low prices. You can find clothes priced at anywhere from 25 cents to $2. I've come away from a trip to The ARC with sunglasses, shorts, a shirt (brand new) and a pair of Keds all costing $3 total. Their prices can't be beat. On top of already low prices, they usually have weekly sales with specifically marked items all priced from 25 to 50 cents. If you're in need of an outfit, furniture, dishes, books, music or just have an inkling to peruse knick-knacks, The ARC is the place to look.

Why do I sing The ARC's praises? Well, during a recent project within Fort Hays State University's English Department, I became aware of this meaningful and useful service that Hays citizens and college students need to know about. It is a local institution that provides the mentally disabled with activities they would not be able to participate in it if it weren't for The ARC's efforts.

ARC director Gloria VonFeldt noted The ARC needs volunteers for the activities it hosts, volunteers for the store, more donations and more shoppers. The thrift store is located on 11th Street across the street from Gella's and to the left of The Brass Rail. Their store hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (open until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday) and 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call VonFeldt at (785) 628-8831.

Brigid Markey

Olathe