NASSAU, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Gathering Place is a thrift store and a food pantry. The store is always there to help the community, but now they need the community to help them.
“It’s like full speed ahead to try to get opened again,” says Michelle Boomhower, Director of The Gathering Place food pantry.
After Wednesday’s storms, Michelle came to see the store flooded. It was a sight she wasn’t expecting to see. “We were walking into about two inches of water, which had receded already because there was about six or seven inches of water and you can tell by the water line on the walls,” says Michelle. The carpets were completely saturated.
Since then, Michelle and her friend, Jane Thompson, have been assessing the damage and cleaning up the mess. They had to pump out the water and rip the carpets up. They stacked items high on the shelves to try to save as many donations as possible. “Our thrift store, anything that we sell in here — all the proceeds go back into the food pantry and fund that and we lost a lot of inventory,” says Michelle.
Items like shoes and other clothing had to be tossed to the curb. Luckily, all the food from the pantry was saved. Due to the flood damage, the doors to the store can’t open just yet. “Every day that were closed is another day we can’t feed people. I try to stay positive but that’s the difficult part of it,” says Michelle.
Since last week, a number of good samaritans have stopped by to give a helping hand. People brought over bins and containers. A lot of progress has been made, but Michelle is still looking for help. “We can take monetary donations which is hard for me to say but it’s reality and down the road, when we open we’ve lost so much winter innovatory that we need winter innovatory clothing.”
There is no set date as to when the store will reopen. “Once people see the open flag out, we’ll all be doing a happy dance but that’s going to be the most difficult part, the immediate part right now is that we need bodies to help us.”
Thrift Store Hours (before the flooding): Closed on Sundays & Mondays. Tuesday: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. -1 p.m.
Food Pantry Hours (before the flooding): Tuesday: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Thursday: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Friday: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.