Macon Helps in Lafayette has continued to grow since its inception in 1992. This week, the Macon Helps building in Lafayette officially expanded into the space next door, which was purchased some months ago and has been undergoing renovation.
Macon Helps offers help in the form of food, supplies, and money, to seniors, the disabled, and low-income families with children in our area. Funded by the thrift store that bears its name, Macon Helps feeds nearly 100 seniors a month.
“We also have a Terminal Illness program,” said Macon Helps Manager Valerie Reid, “we give them gas vouchers for doctor visits, disposable diapers if they need it, food, and we do up to $400.00 a month if they qualify, depending on how many medical bills they have and things like that. We also do medical equipment, we can rent it, and some we keep on hand—like walkers and wheelchairs.
“We stock a fire victim’s closet with new items—things like new linens, pots and pans, pillows, some cookware. This is the kind of stuff that we don’t get much of, so we buy that and keep that for them. We can get plates and cups and things like that out here [on the store shelves].”
We do packages of school supplies in July for the kids, the low-income Macon County kids. We do Christmas presents for the kids, we work with Santa’s Helpers on that.”
Until now, people who wanted to donate items for the store have had to come in through the front door and carry them to the back. Sometimes they would get turned away, because space was so limited. There was just one small room in the back to dump the things, and then volunteers had to use a slightly larger room in the back to organize things when they were restocking their designated areas of the store.
“Back when we had the tornado, it was unreal,” said Reid. “The donations that came in… we had to turn a lot down. Dale Hicks… [was] nice enough to let us use part of the old car factory to store stuff in until we could just bring it back to sell or give it away, depending. A lot of people, we couldn’t give them stuff because they had no home to put it in. So we decided to sell things to give them money to help, pay them their light bills-get their light turned on, their water turned on—help with rent to get into a place… it was just unreal what all came in.”
The large room next door, about the size of the Macon Helps store it’s attached to, will be used entirely for storage and organization. Donors can now bring their things directly into this room from the outside, and there will be plenty of space to store and organize it.
Volunteers were cheerfully carrrying boxes to the new room on Friday, leaving the small back rooms empty. One of them will now be used for Reid’s office, and the space up front that she used before will be opened into the glasswares/collectibles section.
“We hop to have all this moved and organized and ready before the food drive starts,” said Reid. Keep that food drive in mind, Macon County—it usually begins during the second week of May.