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The possibilities are endless at new apparel shop

BURLINGTON On a recent Wednesday morning, about a dozen shoppers prowled through a large basement room in Burlington in search of a bargain. As it turns out, they didnt have to look far; the Possibility Shop offers an array of apparel, while adhering to affordable pricing. Its a vital service to our community and to our neighbor, said the Rev. Robert Lee, First Congregational Church senior minister. Located in the churchs basement, the shop is open Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The reason the shop works so well, Lee said, lies in its mission to help others. Folks who come in here are free to shop, he said. They also have dignity, and this isnt a handout. Run by a staff of about two dozen volunteers, donation pour in from parishioners of the church along with the wider community, Lee said. He added that the shop is in no danger of running low on goods to sell, but are in need of additional volunteers to man the shop. There are special sections where goods are priced at 25 or 10 cents. Additionally, the Possibility Shop gives vouchers to the Joint Urban Ministry Project for participants in the program can shop for clothing or household items at no cost. The Possibility Shop also provides an important service for newcomers and the refugee population who come to Vermont, Lee added. Founded over 25 years ago by a group of parishioners from First Church, the shop has its roots in an annual rummage sale overseen by the church. Noting the sales success, church officials wanted to continue to provide quality items for people in the area. A couple of years ago, the shop opened its doors Saturday, allowing people who work during the week the chance to shop. The Possibility Shops operating budget runs between $30,000 to $35,000, Lee said. He added that proceeds from there help defray the church's maintenance costs. Laurie Fleming of Burlington shopped at the Possibility Shop, hoping to scarf up a few clothing bargains for her son. A single mother, Fleming realizes she has to stretch her dollars in a tight economy. Im here looking for jeans for my son, she said. Hes tall, and he goes through clothes quickly, and its almost Christmas. How can I not buy things here? Sylvia Holden of Burlington pointed out she was decked out in items all coming form the Possibility Shop. She noted that her coat, pants and sweater that she was wearing were purchased there. Its a wonderful shop, she said. I like to be able to help others. For Susan Jenal of Burlington, the things she picks up at the shop allow her to practice sewing. Im a frequent shopper here, she said. Im a sewer, and I like to re-do items. Jean Milligan of Burlington has worshiped at the South Winooski Avenue church for over 50 years. She is the unofficial coordinator of the shop, and works on Fridays there, and heads in on Mondays to go through items at the store. She also likes the Possibility Shops mission. We are providing a service to the community, said Milligan. To volunteer at the Possibility Shop, call the First Congregational Church at 862-5010.

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