Jim White Food Bank of the Rockies Side

Guest Blog by Caroline Fregeau

After learning about Jim’s project with arc, I wanted to know more about what happens with these books after they get to Food Bank of the Rockies. I followed Jim, and his project partner Reagan Giffels, to the Food Bank of the Rockies.

The Food Bank of the Rockies is one of the biggest centers providing food to people across Colorado. Every week they send out their “Totes of Hope” to schools and locations that are in need of providing people with food for the weekend. They send about 5,000 backpacks a week to rural areas in need.

Jim has brought so many books to the Food Bank that they have supplied locations with enough books to no longer need a weekly demand, and Food Bank of the Rockies has started sending out books only once a month with the totes.

 The totes come to the Food Bank in boxes provided by Jim, where they are then more properly packed into sealed boxes with the help of Cherry Creek Transitions. The boxes average about 50 books for each box, and for every 50 totes, one box is added to the delivery. Then once the books finally reach their destination, with totes alongside them, the sites package up the books and food to go home with students.

Below is an example of a month’s worth of books delivered to the Food Bank of the Rockies. You can see some of the more chaotically packaged books, to the properly sealed and organized boxes in the top right corner.

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arcs and crafts: Floor-to-Ceiling Garland

In order to cover up a pegboard wall and make it a bit prettier, I hit my favorite home décor store: arc Thrift. I looked through the selection of curtains and fabric, but ended up settling on some vintage sheets to help me make my floor-to-ceiling garland of fabric strips. I found some great prints of all sizes that were only a few dollars each. I bought five different patterns total for my project.

I started by cutting my sheets into sections. I cut about 1.5-2” apart, just snipping the top of the sheets.

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With my sections marked, I was able to begin the fun part: ripping them into shreds! I ripped from the top of the sheet to the bottom and then attempted to pull off any hanging threads from the strip.

I ripped one entire sheet into strips…

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and then another…and another…until I had a giant pile of different patterned fabric strips.

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Once I had a huge pile, I selected one strip to be my main piece of “string” that would go across the top of the garland and would have all of the other strips tied to it.Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 8.07.56 AM

Then the knot tying began!

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And just like the ripping, I tied knot after knot after knot until the garland was full and the row of knots along the top piece were one next to the other with no space in between.

I made sure to space out the different colors and patters to get a variety as it filled up.

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It turned out so colorful and full, and covers up the pegboard beautifully.

The best part, besides the appearance, is that the pegboard is still usable. Because the fabric is in strips it’s very easy to hang things from hooks on the pegboard and have them show through and in front of the fabric.

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The project cost around $15 and turned out beautifully. Just a typical project from arc 🙂

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Ambassador Spotlight: Lorraine

Lorraine is an arc Ambassador who has worked for the company for the last eleven years, greeting customers and doing her best to put a smile on every single face that walks into the store. Lorraine has made many friends through her time at arc, one of them being another Ambassador, Lisa. Her customers are still her favorite thing about her job.

“It is all about taking care of our customers. They are so great to us and their donations and service have helped me and my friends in so many ways.” Lorraine said.

She loves being the first person customers see when they walk into the store because she has a chance to brighten someone’s day. Her extremely friendly attitude and positive outlook on life is extremely contagious; you can’t help but smile and laugh every time you talk to her.

“When you have fun with your customers they come back, and I love to have fun,” she explained.

One of her favorite parts about working at arc is being able to have fun on the job, and make sure others do as well. On any given day, you might find Lorraine wearing a beautiful crown on her head! And, she loves to dress up for different holidays. For Halloween this past year Lorraine dressed up as a Dalmatian dog, and loved seeing people smile when they saw her.

In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry about animals, and about the people she is close to. Some of her other favorite activities are shopping, going out to eat, and just being around her friends. Lorraine even speaks some Spanish, which enables her to help customers who may not speak English.

Not long ago, Lorraine was asked to accompany Lloyd Lewis, president and CEO of arc, to speak at a local school. Some kids with disabilities were being bullied by their classmates and Lorraine wanted to make sure that nobody felt unsafe or out of place. She wants to make sure that everyone knows that “we are all the same on the inside,” and hers or any other disability may affect someone on the outside but it cannot affect their heart and mind.

“I want to teach people more patience and understanding when it comes to disabilities,” she said. “If I can teach some more kindness, love, and patience then I did my job right.”

She loves working at arc because everyone has made her feel like she is really a part of something great.

“You feel special here. Arc does that for you,” she said.

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Here Lorraine was beyond excited to have won the raffle at the recent Valentine’s Day dance.

 

Ambassador Spotlight: Adam

Adam has worked at arc for about eight years now, working in the stores, floating around the office, and recording for arc radio commercials. Adam has loved working for arc all these years, but he keeps himself very busy on the days he’s not working. He loves watching TV, going for walks with friends, and working out in his “workout room.”

He also spends a lot of his time working with law enforcement. Once a week he works at the local COP shop where people can come report crimes and even get fingerprinting done. His favorite part about the COP shop is all of the law enforcement patches that he collects. His favorite patch of all time is the patch from the Arapahoe Police Department. Adam has also been bringing cookies and treats to the front line officers around Colorado.

Although he loves working, and donating cookies to the officers, his favorite police activity is to go on ride-alongs with his cop friends. He spends about four to eight hours with the cop, driving around different neighborhoods and seeing all of the activity along the way.

Adam also occupies his time on with disabilities groups, going on different adventures. Some of his past adventures have been to the 16th Street Mall and to Winter Park a few years back to ski. Adam also loves spending time with his family and his twin brother Jared.

Adam’s activities keep him very busy, but he still prioritizes his time with arc. He is a valued employee who has done amazing work over his eight years. His hard work does not go unnoticed. He has received the Hero of the Year Award, presented at the annual gala in recognition of his dedication to the stores and his customers. When he is not receiving awards at the gala, he is walking the runway as a model in the fashion show.

Adam is an amazing ambassador with a passion for arc, the police force, and his family.

 

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Finding Formal for Less at the Thrift Store

Although winter has felt never-ending this year, the promise of spring is right around the corner! Spring is known for being a season both of new life and of events galore. From spring weddings to graduations to new jobs, formal wear makes all kinds of appearances in the spring season. Some of my favorite formal finds are from arc Thrift Stores, and I want to share with you the best ways to shop formal on a budget!

Whether you’re looking for the perfect outfit for an outdoor wedding or want to feel extra confident before that job interview next week, arc is an awesome place to find amazing pieces for less. When looking for formal wear, focus on finding classic pieces with a unique flair that fit your personal style. It’s super easy to get overwhelmed with all the options at the thrift store, so focus on finding one or two staple pieces and build off those.

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Patterned Pants and a sleek button-up have made this outfit my interview go to!

When I was granted the opportunity to take part in a prestigious internship this past summer, I knew my wardrobe was going to need a serious business professional overhaul. I needed to find pieces that were classic and sophisticated, but I didn’t want to look too stiff or unnatural. A great way to spice up your workplace outfits is to incorporate fun patterns or textures. When choosing a statement piece (like patterned pants or a brightly colored sweater), let that be the focus of the outfit and keep other elements neutral in color/pattern. When looking for pieces at the thrift store, focus on searching for colors or patterns that you love, and look in the button up, blazer, and blouse sections to stay dress code appropriate.

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The unique cutout drew me to this dress and it has been a staple in my closet ever since!

 

 

One of my favorite things to thrift for are dresses, and that comes in especially handy in the spring and summer when it seems like just about everyone is getting married. The “wedding guest” dress can be an elusive hunt but finding the perfect piece can mean finding a staple dress for seasons to come. When looking for a semi-formal to formal dress, the element of timelessness is essential. A piece that looks sophisticated and beautiful without being easily dated is ideal and will last you years to come. At the thrift store, start by deciding what length and style dress you want before choosing a style or pattern, and don’t be afraid to try something new or step out of your comfort zone.

The spring is all about new beginnings and exciting changes, so don’t be afraid to let that reflect in your wardrobe! And know that wherever those changes take you, arc Thrift is a great place to explore and define your style 😉

Happy Thrifting,

Emily

Instagram: @emily_karbach

Jim White and Arc Thrift: “Books and Bites” Program

Jim White worked at Volunteers of America for over 30 years. But, when he decided to retire that didn’t mean that he was ready to stop helping others. He decided that his retirement would have a purpose. During his time working at Volunteers of America, Jim had always loved working with arc Thrift stores and with Food Bank of the Rockies. He decided to go out on his own and do some good with the help of these two nonprofits. That is when he created his own nonprofit project, “Books and Bites,” a literacy project of arc Thrift and Food Bank of the Rockies.

Arc Thrift receives a lot of book donations but not all of them get sold. Books that go unsold go to the warehouse to be recycled properly after their time on the shelf. Jim noticed a number of high-quality books that were about to be recycled, and decided they could serve a better purpose.

One of the programs run by Food Bank of the Rockies is called “Totes of Hope.” This program gives low-income children backpacks with a meal for themselves for the day, and a meal to feed their family over the weekend. Three to four thousand of these totes go out to families in need every week.

Jim decided arc’s books would find a perfect home in the hands of children receiving a Tote of Hope. He started sifting through some of the books in arc’s warehouse and found many children’s books and chapter books. He took boxes of them to Food Bank of the Rockies and placed them into the backpacks so that these children were sent home with a new book. Food Bank of the Rockies brings these backpacks to 53 different schools around Colorado, 50 of which are elementary schools and three of which are middle schools. Some of the teachers will come to pick up the Totes of Hope and place specific books with their students to make sure they fit the correct personality and reading skill.

Jim begins his process at the arc warehouse where he picks through big barrels of books about to be recycled and finds high-quality books at the reading levels for elementary and middle school kids. Sometimes Jim finds bibles and religious books that he brings to meal sites hosted by Volunteers of America for bible study groups.

Jim only started this program on Valentine’s Day of 2018, and in just over a year he has given away 36,512 books. Some days there are so many books to bring to Food Bank of the Rockies, Jim calls in friends to help him bring the donations. Once he finds the best books to donate, he brings them to the Food Bank of the Rockies where the next step of his process begins.

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Ambassador Spotlight: Lisa, Jodie, and the Valentine’s Day Dance

One of the special parts about being an arc Ambassador is not only the work, but the events as well. Arc hosts many different special events that are designed to give the Ambassadors a fun environment to hang out with their friends and coworkers. The annual Valentine’s Day dance, where ambassadors, their families, and their buddies come to celebrate cupid’s holiday, is one such festive affair.

Everyone gets a beautiful rose corsage or boutonnière, and dances the day away with friends. There were several special activities during the dance as well, like a caricaturist, face painter, photo booth, raffle, and professional ballroom dancers.

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Many of the Ambassadors patiently waited to hear their numbers called during the raffle to win a stuffed animal and special card. Only a few could win, but everyone enjoyed the fun competition. At the end of the dance, a few prizes were left over, and the Ambassadors tried to win them by showing off their best dance moves for the DJ, trying to win his dance-off.

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One of the winners was Jodie who decided to give her mom the prize in spirit of the loving holiday. Jodie was beyond excited to be at the Valentine’s Day dance and receive a prize from Lloyd Lewis, the president and CEO of arc Thrift Stores.

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Another of our Ambassadors, Lisa (pictured on the left, in the purple coat), loves coming to the Valentine’s Day dance, and has never missed a single one. Her favorite thing about the dance is that she gets to see all her friends at once. Lisa is a big time crafter. She loves crafting so much that she has decided that it is time to dedicate a table at home to all of her projects. The Day of Love was especially inspirational for Lisa; she made handmade cards for her family as special gifts for Valentine’s Day, and she is remodeling a table with little red hearts and roses all over it. When she’s not creating beautiful crafts, she is making sure all of the arc vouchers are being sorted perfectly. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day Lisa wanted to let everyone know that they are a “blessing to have, and always will be.”