SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In 2020, the 518 Free Store was created to provide support to marginalized communities during the pandemic. Founder Shalonda Faircloth started the business out of her basement, making deliveries to those in need.

Now, the 518 Free Store is getting a public storefront at 435 Liberty Street in Schenectady. The grand opening is set for Saturday, April 22 at 5 p.m.

“Being born and raised in Schenectady, I seen the hardships of poverty first hand, and witnessed how the COVID pandemic exacerbated financial hardships in my community, for many marginalized individuals and families these hardships continue to be felt today,” said Faircloth.

The 518 Free Store provides food and household goods to local BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks impacted by poverty. The program aims to facilitate stronger, healthier communities through equitable access to basic necessities.

Fairchild said the 518 Free Store was one of 71 organizations to get a small wellness grant by the New York State Department of Health. With the funding, Fairchild was able to secure the public location.

The 518 Free Store is always accepting donations. You can make a contribution by visiting the The Accomplis Collective website.