Shoppers browsed shelves of donated high-end items and elected officials sent in certificates as a Lehigh Valley nonprofit celebrated the move of its resale store on Saturday.
My Sister’s Closet, now in Bethlehem Village Stores at 3560 Nazareth Pike in Bethlehem Township, raises funds for Bloom for Women Inc. – formed last year through the merger of Truth for Women and Bloom Bangor.
Bloom for Women offers a two-year faith-based program empowering women to overcome trauma, trafficking and addiction, CEO Carol Andersen said. Offering four residential facilities for up to 19 women, its program is designed to help rebuild lives ravaged by circumstances they did not choose and in need of a safe place, she said. .
“We stand in solidarity with all women that they should not be used as commodities but rather given the chance to dream and rebuild those lost dreams they had, so that they can have a life that is meaningful and raise kids, have families and have fun like you and I want to,” Andersen said during Saturday’s grand opening.
Rebekah Fritchman, manager of My Sister’s Closet, found the store’s new location last November to replace the previous location which had limited exposure to the road, Andersen said.
“All of our services for women who participate in our two-year program are free for them,” Andersen said. “And My Sister’s Closet, the resources we raise here are so important. We hope to increase our sales and then employ women who participate in our program to give them secure jobs and economic opportunities that they would not have had if we had not been here at this place.
Among those in attendance on Saturday were State Representative Ann Flood, R-Northampton, and representatives of State Senator Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh/Northampton, and U.S. Representative Susan Wild, a Democrat from the 7th District Pennsylvania Congress that covers Lehigh, Northampton and southern Monroe counties.
A Bloom for Women client, a resident of the Bangor area who has agreed to be identified by her first name, Ashley, has shared testimony from her recent baptism. As a mother, she has spoken of overcoming her own tumultuous childhood, a toxic relationship, and drug and alcohol abuse.
“My life has exceeded my wildest dreams,” said Ashley, who has been sober for eight months. “The person I become is the woman I know God expected me to be.”
In addition to My Sister’s Closet, Bloom for Women also runs Bloom Creative Studio in Bangor which uses art as a healing tool and offers a gift shop, arts and crafts, pottery and glass fusing.
My Sister’s Closet hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. Learn more at bloomforwomen.org.
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Kurt Bresswein can be reached at [email protected].