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.”

Local Company Helps Others Find Inner and Outer Beauty

Hana Designs is a studio in Littleton, Colorado where people come for all reasons to get a wig personally cut and styled from Hana herself. Hana works with people suffering from chronic hair loss from chemotherapy cancer treatments, alopecia, trichotillomania, and for many other reasons.

Hana began working in the hair care industry in 1978 and never imagined it would take her to where she is today. She worked styling, cutting, and wigs for years before ever taking the step toward styling wigs for hair loss treatments as a full time business.

Before Hana ever began Hana Designs, a social worker had asked her to come to Children’s Hospital to see a patient. Not knowing what she was in for, Hana met a 9-year-old suffering from liver cancer, who was wearing a wig to cover her hair loss. Hana immediately knew she had to help her get the right wig for her hair and skin type, and give her back the confidence she had in herself. After treating her, Hana called weeks later to find the heart breaking news that the girl had passed, but only after being able to really enjoy herself with friends because of the confidence from her new hair and looking like she had before the cancer.

From this experience, Hana learned that quality of time is more important than the quantity of time. Hana’s mission is “quality over quantity” when it comes to being able to give someone back their quality of life during hair loss and other treatments. Her mission behind the nonprofit, Hana’s Hope has always been to inspire inclusion of everyone regardless of gender, sex, or disability.

Hana herself suffered from breast cancer and hair loss, after having worked in the hair care industry for years, and she found support from her local community, her customers, and the LGBTQ+ community. During this time, she began receiving many wigs and donations from people who no longer needed their wigs. Inspired by the support she had received during her cancer treatments, Hana knew there was a need for wigs in the community, and she began giving back and donating to those who now needed the same help she had received. She understood how important hair is to a person’s confidence and self-identity when going through so much already. She wanted to help give back in all the ways she could, and continues to do so.

Hana’s nonprofit, Hana’s Hope, has been her dream that turned reality with the help of the donations and sponsors around her. This September, Hana is hosting her Whxyte Wedding Fashion Show at History Colorado. The fashion show is inspired by helping many trans men and women see themselves the way they feel, and giving them a better quality of life. Hana’s Hope has worked on this event for the past two years, making sure everything is exactly as she has imagined, especially the wedding dresses to be modeled. Some of the dresses are made from scratch by a team of designers, some are repurposed to fit the exact personality and build of the model, and some are kept exactly the way they were found from arc Thrift Store donations. The models will be wearing wigs in colors of light pink, blue, and purple from Hana Designs and wearing dresses from arc Thrift as well as originals from Hana’s Hope’s team of designers.

Hana’s Whxyte Wedding fashion show is fundraising to support LGBTQ+ communities, and seeks to educate and advocate for all of those who have felt their self-esteem taken away. The event takes place September 7, 2019 at History Colorado. Find out more about Hana’s Hope at http://hanashope.org and information on the Whxyte Wedding Fashion Show at http://www.whxytewedding.com

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Ambassador Spotlight: Lisa

Lisa is an arc Ambassador who has been with the company for about ten years. She works in the corporate office, organizing and sorting vouchers to be donated all around the state. Lisa organizes each large stack of vouchers into piles of 20 to make handing them out much more efficient. One of Lisa’s main responsibilities, and her favorite, is answering the phone and dealing with all the “crazy conversations” she has had over the years.

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Because Lisa has been with arc for so long, she has seen many changes. But, she loves it just as much today as she did on her first day.

When asked to name her favorite things about arc, Lisa said, “This is seriously the best job I have ever had, and if I could work longer hours, I would. I absolutely love it here.”

When Lisa isn’t working at arc she is skiing at Winter Park with her girlfriends, or making crafts. Her favorite crafts to make are handmade scarves and hats. She makes her hats for babies and for adults.

Lisa’s bright and friendly energy makes it no surprise she has many best friends throughout the company and stores. In fact, she has “too many to count, but Lorrie at JCRS is just awesome.”

Lisa has a strong passion for arc Thrift and loves being able to work with some of her greatest friends each day.

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