Irmo’s Salvation Army Family Store is open for business at 1341 Dutch Fork Road

The outlet store is accepting donations for the holiday season

Irmo, SC (James Bowers) - Bells were ringing at the Food Lion-anchored shopping center on Dutch Fork Road in Irmo Friday morning as its newest tenant, the Salvation Army Family Store celebrated its grand opening. Members of the Irmo Chamber of Commerce were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion.

The outlet is the charity’s second store in the Midlands region. The store’s stock consists entirely of donated items and includes clothing, furniture, and some electronics and entertainment devices such as CDs and DVDs. Its actual street address is 1341 Dutch Fork Road and their hours are 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

All proceeds from the Salvation Army store go back to helping the organization with its missions, which include providing food and shelter to some of the area’s most disadvantaged citizens, as well as those affected by catastrophic events such as the 2015 flooding.

“We’re really excited to open this store and be able to reach this community," said Sarah Newcomb, Director of Public Relations and Volunteer Services for Salvation Army of the Midlands. “You’re not just finding great deals, but every dollar made here goes back to help those in the Irmo and Lexington communities.”

The Salvation Army was founded in London, England in 1865. Since then, the Christian-based charity has spread to 127 countries and its services are estimated to help 32 million people in the US alone..

Most people know the Salvation Army for their traditional bell ringing fundraising drives during the holidays. They call these “Red Kettle Campaigns” due to the distinctive red vessels which is where people place their donations. Some give just a few cents and some give a great deal. These fund drives, usually held near the entrances of major retail stores such as Wal-Mart, help the organization provide its beneficiaries with the things they need for the holiday season.

Newcomb says this fundraiser produced $391,000 for underprivileged families last holiday season. The Christmas season is a huge period for the Salvation Army, with projects such as their “Angel Tree” Christmas Assistance program. This particular program allows families with children under 12 years old to receive assistance with purchasing presents for their kids.

Newcomb says the organization is actively seeking volunteers for these activities. “We need about 50 volunteers per day, starting next week.” Newcomb stated. “We need people to ring the bell at the kettles, to work in the warehouse, and answer phones. Volunteers are a huge part of what we do.” Those interested in volunteering can sign up at salvationarmycarolinas.org.

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