Shoppers perused racks of upscale donated items and elected officials sent certificates as a Lehigh Valley nonprofit on Saturday celebrated the relocation of its resale boutique.
My Sister’s Closet, now in the Bethlehem Village Shops at 3560 Nazareth Pike in Bethlehem Township, raises money for Bloom for Women Inc. — formed last year through a merger of Truth for Women and Bloom Bangor.
Bloom for Women offers a faith-based, two-year program for women to overcome trauma, trafficking and addiction, said CEO Carol Andersen. Offering four residential facilities with room for up to 19 women, its program is designed to help rebuild lives ravaged by circumstances they did not choose and who need a safe place, she said.
“We stand in solidarity with all women that they should not be used as commodities but instead be given the chance to dream and rebuild those lost dreams that they had, so that they can have a life that’s meaningful and raise their children, have families and have fun just like you and I all desire to do,” Andersen said at Saturday’s grand opening.
Rebekah Fritchman, manager of My Sister’s Closet, found the new location for the boutique last November to replace the previous spot that had limited road exposure, Andersen said.
“All of our services for the women that are in our two-year program are at no cost to them,” Andersen said. “And My Sister’s Closet, the resources that we raise here are so significant. We hope to increase our sales and then employ women that are in our program to give them safe jobs and economic opportunity that they would not have had we not been here at this location.”
Among those in attendance Saturday were state Rep. Ann Flood, R-Northampton, and representatives of state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh/Northampton, and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District that covers Lehigh, Northampton and southern Monroe counties.
A client of Bloom for Women, a Bangor area resident who agreed to be identified by her first name, Ashley, shared testimony from her recent baptism. A mother, she spoke of overcoming her own tumultuous childhood, a toxic relationship, and drug and alcohol abuse.
“My life has transcended past my wildest dreams,” said Ashley, who is eight months sober. “The person I’m becoming is the women I know God has been waiting for me to be.”
Along with My Sister’s Closet, Bloom for Women also runs Bloom Creative Studio in Bangor that uses art as a healing tool and offers a gift shop, DIY crafts, pottery and glass fusion.
My Sister’s Closet hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. Learn more at bloomforwomen.org.
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Kurt Bresswein may be reached at [email protected].