A grand reopening in Oxford
By Steven Hoffman
By 6:15 p.m. last Friday night, people were lined up to buy clothing, furniture, household goods, and other items from the Neighborhood Services Center’s Neighborhood Thrift Store, as it officially reopened after a five-month remodel of the retail space at 21 South Third Street.
The large number of people who passed through the newly renovated store, with its beautiful interior and open layout, illustrated the support that the Neighborhood Services Center has after being such an invaluable part of Oxford for more than 45 years.
Neighborhood Services Center (NSC) provides a variety of assistance and services to the people who need it the most in the community. It operates a food cupboard that distributes canned goods, non-perishable items, diapers, and personal care items. NSC provides monetary assistance to pre-screened and income-eligible individuals who need assistance meeting their basic needs of housing, utilities and health care. The center also provides space for professional agencies like Family Service of Chester County, the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, and the Crime Victims Center, connecting residents in the southern part of the county to these valuable services.
The thrift store enhances the Neighborhood Services Center’s ability to provide these services.
According to executive director Cheryl McConnell, NSC first opened the thrift store as a way to not only raise funds to help more families in need in the community, but also as a way to supply much-needed items like clothing, furniture, and home goods to those who need them. The Neighborhood Services Center’s home at 35 North Third Street didn’t have the room to store the furniture, home goods, and clothing that was being donated.
The thrift store has had its place among Oxford businesses for ten years. Volunteers like Florence Prewitt, the chair of the NSC Neighborhood Thrift Store Committee, have helped to make it a success. The store relies on only a few employees to make it run, but manager Tracey Davis and assistant manager Darlene Noon see to it that customers' needs are met.
McConnell and Rudy Allen, the vice chair of the Neighborhood Services Center board, thanked the building's owner, Wilson King, for doing a superb job of remodeling the space, and for keeping the thrift store's needs in mind. Avaro Ayala put a lot of effort into the remodel of the store.
At the grand opening, mayor Geoff Henry lauded the Neighborhood Services Center for providing invaluable services to residents in the community for nearly 50 years―the center first opened in 1971.
The thrift store is now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday Donations are accepted at the thrift store five days a week. Volunteers will also make arrangements to pick up donated items for added convenience. The Neighborhood Services Center is always looking for volunteers, including those to help at the thrift shop. Anyone interested in helping out can call the NSC at 610-932-8557.
The Neighborhood Services Center is a vital part of the Oxford community because it helps so many people in need. As Allen explained, everything that is donated to the Neighborhood Thrift Store stays in the community to benefit local residents. So donating to or helping out the NSC is a good way to strengthen the community.