ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A local pastor known for his work in the Albany community is taking a big step toward helping foster children by opening a new free store.
Often, kids in the foster system get hand-me-down clothes or simply get by with very few possessions of their own. On Tuesday, Pastor Charlie Muller of the Victory Church cut the ribbon on a new mini department store called Our Store that will help provide foster kids with brand new items for free.
The store has shoes, clothes, bedding and luggage as many kids move from home to home with only garbage bags to carry all their things.
“When a child gets a hand-me-down, and a lot of people give me hand-me-downs, I feel it really affects them in a negative way,” Muller said. “All my life, I got hand-me-downs. So we want to change that. We want to make sure that these kids feel like they are important because they really are.”
The church has been struggling to meet the needs of the community amid recent violent acts in Albany. It was forced to shut down operations at their feeding center on Quail Street after shots were fired into the building.
With another shooting last week outside the location, Pastor Muller said the center will likely remain closed for the summer.
The 8,000 sq. ft. Our Store is located in the Westgate building next to Westgate Shopping Center at 10 North Russell Road in Albany.