Blossom is a boutique clothing store that runs entirely on donations and allows children in need to shop for free — whether they’re part of the foster care system or simply come from a family who has fallen on hard times and can’t afford new clothing.
Georgia mom opens clothing shop for foster kids after noticing their lack of possessions
A family in Georgia is opening a free boutique for children in need after adopting two girls from foster care. The boutique, called Blossom, is scheduled to open this month – though it has already started helping families, according to founder Linda Durrence. Durrence, 51, from Glennville, Georgia, told Fox News Digital that when Blossom opens, it will provide children in need with seven full sets of clothes and shoes for free. Families will be able to visit and get seven new sets of clothes every quarter for seasonal changes, or more frequently if a child has a major size change. — Fox News Digital
Family opens a free clothing store after realising foster kids own virtually nothing
When most people think about foster children they lament the fact that they have no parents, writes Upworthy’s Tod Perry. When, in most cases, the problem is much worse, they have nothing. No friends. No family. No belongings. When the police remove a child from an abusive home, the child’s things aren’t the biggest priority. In other cases, a caseworker shows up at a child’s home for removal and they only have a few minutes to grab a few things—whatever fits in a plastic bag.
Linda Durrence, 51, from Glennville, Georgia wants the foster children in her community to have something for themselves.
In December 2016, she and her husband lost their 27-year-old daughter in a car accident. After their tragic loss, the Durrences and their two remaining daughters began attending a church in Glennville. The daughters soon became friends with three girls that were being fostered by another family at the church. However, in 2018, the sisters were set to be moved to separate foster homes.
The oldest of the three sisters turned 18 and left the foster care system, so the Durrences took in the two younger daughters to watch over them until they could be reunited with their grandparents in Florida. After getting settled in their new home, the sisters begged the Durrences to stay with them because they were tired of moving around. In 2019, the Durrrences adopted the two girls. Continued below…
Kids can get up to seven free sets of clothes and shoes every quarter
As the sisters settled into the Durrences home, Linda couldn’t get over the image of them coming to her doorstep carrying nothing but trash bags.
"The first thing that broke my heart was that they came with a trash bag that wasn’t even halfway full with clothes that didn’t fit them," Durrence told Fox 5 Atlanta. "They had one hairbrush. They did each have a toothbrush, but they only had like a trial size thing of toothpaste. They had no shampoo, no conditioner, no nothing."
"It just kept staying on my mind," she said, noting that her family was “financially blessed” to give them what they need. However, she wondered about other families and their foster children.
"What about the families that can’t go out and buy them what they need?" Durrence said. "Just the bare minimum, the necessities."
Durrence had been thinking about opening a store for children in need for quite some time and eventually bought up a storefront at a small shopping mall. The store runs on donations and allows fostered, adopted or less fortunate children to shop for free.
Shoppers can make an appointment and if the store has clothes their size, they can get up to seven free sets of clothes and shoes every quarter. They can come by the store more often if they have a major change in size.
Durrence says she named the store after her two adopted daughters.
"We watched them blossom and that’s where the name came from," Durrence said. "And what our hope is, is with Blossom, that it goes far beyond just kids coming to get clothes."
She hopes to add an education center to the store to help foster kids keep up with their educational goals and services for parents to help them raise their families. You can follow Blossom on Facebook.
“I just want people to know that there are other people out there that really care.”
Durrence researched other stores with similar business models such as Ruth’s Closet in Maryland, which helps victims of domestic abuse. One Atlanta organisation she drew inspiration from was Bloom Our Youth, a non-profit that assists foster children and their families.
Blossom opened in January. Durrence already has people in the community, surrounding counties and even other countries donating and shipping clothing items to her. She has also received a couple monetary donations. So far, her family and volunteers have been helping her run the store.
Since she also runs another business, Durrence’s sister Leslie — who helped her become a foster mom — manages the store daily. Durrence tries to be at Blossom at least a few days a week.
While the idea for Blossom started with foster children, Durrence said that “basically anybody whose parents cannot afford clothes” can receive free items from the boutique. Customers from infant to college-age are welcome.
“They can come in every quarter and get seven suits of clothing, as well as hygiene items,” Durrence shared. There are also extra items like jewellery, books and a few small toys for younger children.
All Blossom customers are asked to make an appointment ahead of time. The boutique owner explained, “This is something that I learned from Bloom because some kids are embarrassed and you want to make sure you have plenty of their sizes.”
Sometimes if there aren’t items in a particular size, Durrence and her family purchase the clothes. She noted that they especially need clothes for boys. Right next door, the family also opened a thrift store where adults who don’t meet the criteria for the boutique can purchase clothes for $1.
Durrence explained, “We’ve had quite a bit of adult families come in, where they’re all working and everything, (but) they just don’t have decent clothes to wear. They can go in there and clothe their whole family for 20 to 30 bucks.”
Since opening Blossom, Durrence has already heard from other people who also want to open their own stores.
“I just want people to know that there are other people out there that really care."
ABOUT FOSTERING (UK)
Every 20 minutes another child comes into care needing a foster family in the UK. And every day there are about 65,000 children living with 55,000 foster families. Learn more.