(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
Lost but Found helps community members in need in several ways…
Lost but Found Thrift Store has more than meets the eye.
Most certainly it’s a thrift store and a comprehensive one at that. From clothing, to board games, to electronics, to furniture, to household items, dishes, books and videos — if you’re looking for something, chances are it may have taken up residence here. But it also offers much more than that to the Chewelah community.
Lost but Found began nine years ago, working on a grant from the Free Methodist Church as an innovative ministry. Cindy Kalisch and her husband started a halfway house for recovering addicts and had the thrift store to support the house. They served and helped the recovery of many people in eight years and have since transitioned to using the thrift store to help many aspects of the community.
Long-term care residents are able to take trips to the store and get anything they want for free. The store provides Christmases for local families in need. They also help the area’s homeless and needy by connecting them with Rural Resources and DHS. They also try and help seniors on fixed incomes get help when financial troubles mount.
“It seems to be a big hole around here,” Kalisch said. “You’ll have a couple or two family members living together on a fixed income. One passes away, and the other one cannot afford their apartment. We try to facilitate that.”
They also work with seniors when they run into issues with social security or other aid programs. Since the process can be long and confusing, they try to educate and help seniors deal with the paperwork and anything else that might pop up.
The Thrift Store also works with several area organizations to allow people to work at the store, get workplace skills and get prepped for becoming a productive person in society. This can be somebody who came from a juvenile hall, somebody recovering from an addiction, somebody coming out of homelessness.
“We call it a hand up, not a hand out,” Kalisch said.
“We want to facilitate their success to break the cycle.”
They help people get into treatment places, get transportation into Spokane for various reasons and help look for housing.
The store has three paid employees and the rest of the staff is volunteers. With volunteers, Kalisch tries to see what they’re skilled or interested in and let them organize or oversee that part of the store.
With unemployment still high in Stevens County, Kalisch said that they’re seeing more homeless and without large shelter resources in Chewelah, they try and facilitate them and even have them go to Spokane where the help options are more numerous.
Along with helping the community on several levels, they’re also helping KCHW with a new shed to house their broadcasting equipment for a county-wide tower, they’ve contributed to the Mr. Chewelah school senior all-nighter. They’ve also donated to the Chewelah food bank and the Arden Christian School.
Those interested in helping or volunteering can talk to Scottie at the front desk.
Lost but Found may be a thrift store, but the services and help to the community the store provides to Chewelah is top dollar.