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Spirit of hope renewed

Downtown boutique benefits homeless women and children
By: Megan Wood The Press-Tribune
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Just in time for Christmas shopping, Roseville opens its doors to ReNew, a secondhand store featuring household items and clothing for women and children. Last month, ReNew volunteers began accepting the donations that now fill its racks and shelves and have spent the last several months painting and grooming the former law office turned boutique for the grand opening that will begin at 10 a.m. today. All proceeds from ReNew will support the 11 moms and 28 children currently living at Acres of Hope, a housing program for homeless women with children. “We had been receiving so many donations at Acres that we didn’t have the room and had to start turning them away,” said Regina Sarmento, executive director of Acres of Hope and owner of the new boutique. “This is a way to use those donations and raise funds in an economy when fundraising is difficult.” The residents of Acres of Hope will be able to shop on a need-based allotment at the boutique at no charge. In addition to the numerous donations received in the last month, ReNew has seen a tremendous outpouring of support from the community as more than 20 citizens have stepped forward to volunteer at the store. “It’s very exciting to have such great support and volunteers,” Sarmento said. And it shows. The quaint house that is now ReNew boutique has been completely furnished by donations, one of which is a mirror from the Old Roseville Barbershop that was the only surviving article from the fire that destroyed it in 1961. Perched atop the racks of clothing are photos of residents of Acres of Hope as a reminder to customers that they are helping to improve the lives of women and children in need. “I think it helps people understand what we’re doing and lets them know that the proceeds go to real people and really do make a difference,” Sarmento said. If anyone has any doubts look no further than employee Julianne Christ. A soon to be graduate of Acres of Hope’s renewal program, Christ is gearing up to take over the operations of the boutique with Sarmento overseeing her. “She came to us two years ago and has just thrown herself into our program and learning how to rebuild relationships,” said Christine Ourada, program director for Acres of Hope. “She has taken on a lot of responsibilities at Acres and is a natural born leader. We thought she was perfect for the job.” The boutique sits on the corner of Walnut Street and will boast two rooms of women’s clothes, a separate room for children’s clothing with a play area with books and puzzles to occupy small shoppers. Upstairs, household items can currently be found, but Sarmento has more in store for 2009. “I’d like to start offering some classes like the ones we do at Acres and bring those to the community because I really think more people could benefit from them,” Sarmento said. Sarmento will wait until next spring before taking on another overhaul of the store, but she hopes that by March the upstairs can be converted into a classroom for parenting, relationship and conflict resolution and life skills classes. The backyard of the boutique is set up to be a gathering spot and will be stocked with donated refreshments like coffee and cookies for shoppers’ enjoyment. “I really wanted to extend the feelings of Acres and have this be a warm, familial environment,” Sarmento said. “I want this to be a place where people can come to hang out and just be.” What: ReNew Boutique Where: 201 Walnut St.; Roseville Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays noon -5 p.m. Info: 782-1877, ww.acresofhopeonline.org Why: Accepting donations of gently used women’s and children’s clothing or household items. All proceeds go to Acres of Hope.