Trey Brownlee

(Rock Hill, S.C.) – One Rock Hill small business is working to serve the community by providing people access to second-hand clothing and items at a low price, along with other opportunities.

The A Hand Up Outreach Center is a thrift store is operated by the Rock Hill Dream Center Church.

Located at 1110 Cherry Road in Rock Hill, the store resells name brand clothes for prices as low as $1.50 per item or less.

“The big bait essentially is the thrift store,” said Garrett Bowman, an employee at A Hand Up. “If we keep our prices at a certain point then we have the opportunity to be intentional about building relationships with people who come in the door.”

However, Bowman said the store provides more than just secondhand clothing, as its mission is to help the community by offering job and volunteer opportunities for people in need.

For example, volunteers can work at A Hand Up for at least an hour — up to three times per month — in exchange for six articles of clothing.

“People who have addiction issues, people without a home, broken families, they come here with a desire to do something and so we put them sorting clothes or cleaning racks. It gives them something to do and makes them feel important and then we build the relationship while we do it,” Bowman said.

A Hand Up recently renovated its space to add a small coffee shop at the back of the store, which now allows the ministry to host events.

A number of groups from Winthrop University have already booked the space, which is available to the public, for events on Tuesday nights.

“As us being an outreach center and helping people every day, people would come in if they needed someone to talk to,” said Connie Deavers, an employee at A Hand Up.

“If we need to pray with them we were normally bringing them into the office and that just didn’t feel comfortable,” said Deavers. “We just wanted a different setting and now being able to go into that (coffee shop) it’s much nicer and it makes people more open and comfortable to sit and tell us their story.”

The mission behind the store has encouraged a number of people to donate clothes and other items.

“I live 15 minutes away, but I still make the trip just to donate to A Hand Up,” said Emma Caroline, a Rock Hill resident.

“Goodwill is closer, but I know if I donate to a store like A Hand Up then my clothes will be going to someone who really needed it and the place won’t be profiting off my clothing,” Caroline said.

Community donations keeps the business going and Deavers said A Hand Up is always looking for specific clothing for its shoppers.

For example, Deavers said A Hand Up “caters to a lot of homeless people,” especially during the winter, so blankets, jackets for men and women and gloves are often needed.