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Shaky Acres Needs Volunteers to Keep Thrift Shops Open
by Sekai K. Mutunhu - Daily News Staff

ST. THOMAS Shaky Acres is working to boost its revenue by keeping its thrift shops open seven days a week, but officials say it cant do it unless members of the community step up to the plate.

"We need volunteers who can spend five to six hours a week tending to the store to help sort and sell items," said Heidi Windel, a thrift shop volunteer. "Right now we are just a handful, about five, and we could use 20 on a rotating basis."

Shaky Acres Inc., is a non-profit organization that has offered food, shelter and clothing to recovering alcoholics and drug users for 17 years. The organization has three facilities with  33 beds.

The two thrift shops, one is located in Sub Base and the other in Smith Bay, are open from 10 a.m. 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturday. The shops sell a variety of items including second-hand books, clothing, household appliances and toys.  Sales revenues are pumped directly back into the organization, said Windel.

 The Smith Bay thrift shop is also used as a training center that offers computer classed to low-income residents and member of the Spanish community. In addition to volunteers, Shaky Acres is also in desperate need of donations, monetary and others, said Gary Hellyer, who has worked with Shaky Acres for a year and a half. "That's is what we need the public to realize, that we really need these kinds of donation," he said. "We need the public to know that we need them.

Shaky Acres is primarily funded through private, tax-deductible donations but also receives federal grants. Officials at the organization say that they hope to raise 45,000 this year. The organization also accepts contributions from corporations who sponsor beds at $1,000 a head. Each sponsorship provides recovering alcoholics and drug addicts with support services and a place to eat and sleep for a year.

For more information on Shaky Acres, or to help, call 775-3006 or visit their website at www.shakyacres.vi.