Dorcas House continues to give back to domestic abuse survivors by opening thrift store

The Dorcas House continues to give back, opens up thrift store

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - On Thursday, the entire state of Arkansas will join together to help respond to the needs of over 900 non-profits. It's the day of giving known as Arkansas Gives where THV11 will join the Arkansas Community Foundation to raise money for those who need it most.

This year, we're looking to raise $5 million dollars for that one day. But, those are just the numbers.

It's the impact on lives that matters most. Like the impact it can have for someone like Lisa Johnson.

She's the spitting image of contentment, of peace, of a woman motivated and focused. Her life now is far different from the life she led six years ago. She was caught in the personal hell of an abusive relationship.

"I just was killing myself because I was taking in all the pain that he was dishing out to me," Johnson admitted.

She finally got up the courage to take her 6-year-old son and escape. From there she went to Dorca's House, a 9-month domestic violence program.

"It's not an easy program to go through and we don't expect it to be easy," said director Dorcas VanGilst. "Change is hard."

It's VanGilst's undying devotion to the cause that kept the house giving back to a community of people who need it most. The house provides a safe environment that looks to break the cycle of domestic violence rather than put a "band-aid" on it.

"I'd never seen a ministry that was this comprehensive where you're talking about their mental health needs, their physical need, their medical needs, their emotional needs, their life skills needs," said VanGilst.

And now, a new chapter in the incredible Dorcas House story in the form of a thrift shop called Happy Gray. The name comes from the well known song "You Are My Sunshine."

The Dorcas House worked together to remodel the store themselves. The woodwork seen across the walls was installed by Union Rescue Mission's executive director, Keith Medlock.

"It's a tremendous amount of work, but 100 percent of the proceeds we raise here go to women that basically battling domestic abuse," Medlock said.

Women like Johnson, who have been through the doors of Dorcas House, will work at the store. The hope is that the store blossoms and becomes another beacon for all women in need of help.

The formal opening of Happy Gray is on Friday, April 7, the day after Arkansas Gives.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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