Fig Leaf Boutique in Mishawaka gives ‘dignity’ to needy customers

Operators of Fig Leaf Boutique say that for the past various a long time, they’ve…

Operators of Fig Leaf Boutique say that for the past various a long time, they’ve stored issues afloat on a “wing and a prayer.” 

Recognized close to 2010, the area non-gain retailer at 125 E. Mishawaka Ave. in Mishawaka has offered apparel for these in will need, quite a few of whom are referred to the boutique by scenario workers or clinics. Inside, prospects are able to shop and select 10 garments items for each and every particular person in their family, all for no cost. 

“Our goal is that individuals are ready to shop right here with dignity and with really like,” director Barb Schafer explained. “And that they really feel like they’re really procuring.”

No concerns are asked and no proof is desired for shoppers to shop around for the free items, including infant onesies, kid’s t-shirts, younger expert blazers, as well as-sized dresses, men’s shoes and additional, which are generally donated by other area outlets and groups these as Clothes Mentor, Plato’s Closet, The Christ Child Society and more. The seasonal products, which also can be donated by individuals, are neatly arranged inside the modest developing by volunteers, who also just take the time to make certain each item is to their conventional of good quality. 

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“We have lots of people today who, by phrase of mouth, give us beautiful things, and we pride ourselves on that,” Schafer reported. “Every single zipper operates, the buttons are there, there are no stains, they are in model, we discussion and explore merchandise that we put out and surprise if it would get the job done for our cliental.”

Volunteers are equipped to advise and help shoppers shop by means of the merchandise and, the moment accomplished, count to make absolutely sure they consider property the appropriate selection of things. Consumers are then permitted to arrive back again and shop at the retailer a few months later on. 

Fig Leaf operators say an normal of 430 objects leave the shop each and every Thursday and estimate the boutique has served at the very least 1,500 people due to the fact 2012, some of whom are regulars and other folks who may possibly have frequented only once. But while the non-income presents the support for free of charge, they worry about the boutique’s upcoming. 

Fig Leaf has been part of the ministry of the First United Methodist Church in Mishawaka due to the fact 2018. Schafer said the church monetarily contributes to the non-profit on a quarterly foundation, which assists cover operating costs these types of as hire, utilities and insurance policy.

“But it is really not approximately enough,” she mentioned. “It truly is like a third of what we actually have to have. … We know we’ll make it by December, but it is definitely iffy if we can proceed in January.” 

Schafer, as properly as treasurer Paula Laskowski and secretary Marcia Bloore, claimed the boutique consistently hosts fundraiser events through the church, Hacienda Mexican Dining establishments and the Amazon Smile program. But the donations are generally compact and can acquire a although to appear to fruition. 

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“All of those people small issues do include up and support us immensely,” Schafer explained. “And that’s why we have been equipped to continue to be open up. But we are in need of anything additional consistent.” 

Laskowski, who has been with the boutique considering that its inception with founder Diana Taylor, explained without having the boutique, these in will need would very likely shed their standard source of clothing. Other resources, these as The Christ Child Society, require a referral and a certain cash flow stage for their products. Goodwill is usually also costly for those on the lookout for some thing to simply just get them by. 

“Men and women are ready to come in and get points for almost nothing in this article,” Laskowski explained. “And they would shed their apparel frequently (if we had been to close).” 

Fig Leaf Boutique is open up Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and each individual 2nd and fourth Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Donations are acknowledged Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to midday.

Call Mary Shown at 574-235-6244 and mshown@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @maryshownSBT and @marketbasketSBT.

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