New Beginnings Boutique Re-Opens in New Space

Boutique Front
The New Beginnings Boutique will reopen in new space at 103 Fall Street on Monday, April 7th at 11am.

The New Beginnings Boutique, a Project of the Seneca County House of Concern, has re-opened in new larger quarters just down the street from the original location. The new store will be nearly three times the size of the original with expanded mechandise. The store has been closed temporarily as preparations were made to move to the new location.

Boutique Show Rack
This shoe rack is among the additions in the new facility built by Board member Dave Saunders, who also made new counters, a dressing room and much more.

That enterprise has provided a new retail storefront in the downtown area, helping build traffic for all downtown businesses, and the sales generated by the Boutique provide funds to help stock the shelves in the food pantry. HOC Executive Director Diane Draheim says the store has been a great success both in terms of customer feedback and in sales. By getting a better return for the many high quality women’s clothing items donated to the HOC, the store has generated new revenues while offering a great shopping experience. Items can also be taken on consignment at the store.

From nearly opening day, New Beginnings Boutique store Manager Lynne Wimmer has been eager to expand to larger quarters. The new store is located at 103 Fall Street (although one consequence of the move is that the sign over the new building was made for the original store and still has the old address, a problem they hope to remedy soon).  The space for the store is being donated rent and utility free through the generosity of Bruce Bonafiglia and Bonadent.

Boutique April 1
The Boutique carries gently used high quality women’s clothing and accessories. The store accepts donations and consignments.

The new store is already refurbished and the “soft opening” will be held on Monday, April 7th at 11am. The store will then be open Wednesdays through Saturdays. Spring hours will be Wednesday, 10-5; Thursday and Friday, 11-6; and Saturday 11-4.

Dozens of people helped clean, paint and refurbish the new location in preparation of Monday’s opening. “It’s probably bad to start mentioning names since there are so many people to thank, but we do want to give a special thank you to Board members Dave and Bonnie Saunders and their extended family, and Denise and Greg Sarra, all of whom really went beyond the call of duty. They not only to put in many hours of labor themselves, but also to recruit others to help with the move. We could not possibly have made the move without all those folks,” said Wimmer.

The Boutique is one of the ways the House of Concern Board of Directors has met the rising needs for food in Seneca County. in January alone, the food pantry was able to furnish over 31,000 meals to hungry residents. “With growing need and cuts in funding, we are facing a double whammy,” says HOC Board President, Stephen Beals. “We are determined to keep our doors open for as long as there is a need. The New Beginnings Boutique is one small example of how we are thinking ‘outside of the box’ to meet those needs. Our recent very successful Traveling Little Black Dress Fashion show is another example. This Board and dozens of volunteers have spent hundreds of volunteer hours trying to raise much needed funds and think of new ways to engage the community. We owe a great deal to those volunteers and could not meet the need without their support and energy.”

The House of Concern is a partner agency of United Way of Seneca County.

Disclosure: Seneca Daily News Publisher Stephen Beals is Board President of the Seneca County House of Concern.

Canning Hunger Ministry Collects 1000 Cans


Canning Hunger
Canning Hunger Campaign netted more than 1000 canned items for the House of Concern Food Pantry.

People helping people – That’s what Finger Lakes Christian Fellowship’s “Canning Hunger” ministry is all about.   Many in our community face hunger every day.  When the leadership at the church recognized the problem of hunger in Seneca County, a team was assembled to meet that need.  The church believes that one way to serve God is to feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35-40).

The team started collecting money and food items from the church congregation.  Then they hosted can drives.  In 2012 the team decided to expand the ministry by knocking on doors in Seneca Falls and asking residents for food donations.  All items and money are given to the Seneca County House of Concern for distribution.  By working in conjunction with the House of Concern the team is able to reach a greater number of people while supporting a wonderful local charity.

Canning Hunger Team Coordinator Jason Martin says that 2013 was a successful year.  Over 1000 items were collected from residents of Leland Drive and the surrounding neighborhood in Seneca Falls.  Generations Bank is sponsoring a small celebration dinner on Saturday at Café XIX to thank those in our community who contributed.

Jason Martin anticipates that 2014 will be even more successful.  Beginning in March, team members will begin knocking on doors in a new neighborhood – College Heights.  They will be seeking food donations on the third Saturday of each month.

To learn more about Canning Hunger or any of Finger Lakes Christian Fellowship’s other community outreach programs, please contact the church at 315.568.5691. 

Food and monetary donations may be sent directly to the House of Concern, 35 State Street, Seneca Falls, NY or by calling 315.568.2433.  

House of Concern Delivers 85 Thanksgiving Baskets

Thanksgiving BasketsThe Seneca County House of Concern prepared food baskets to 85 families around the county for Thanksgiving. The baskets were made possible by a number of churches, civic organizations and volunteers who donated both the food and the time to fill the baskets at the HOC headquarters on State Street.

Turkeys were provided by Foodlink, local churches divided a list of a variety of foods like stuffing, vegetables, condiments and pies to fill the baskets; civic organizations held food drives, and a number of volunteers came to fill the baskets.

The agency is facing the highest need in its 44 year history at the same time as cuts in funding have hit hard and SNAP recipients have seen their monthly allotment of money for food cut. Most SNAP recipients are elderly, disabled or children and the number of elderly folks needing assistance from the House of Concern has nearly doubled in recent months.

The House of Concern is a not for profit agency and donations are tax deductible. The HOC is a partner agency of the United Way of Seneca County.