Making a Difference: People Reaching Out to People

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The weather is getting nicer and according to the calendar it's officially Spring. Many of us are starting to go through our homes and clean out items we no longer use. If you want to bring your gently used clothing and household items and furniture somewhere that will make a difference, try the PROP Shop in Eden Prairie. We went to check it out and left feeling so grateful that there is a place like this. They are doing such amazing work for people in need, they make a difference in so many lives right in our communities. 

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How It Started

The creation of the PROP Shop was a direct result of rapidly changing community demographics. From 2000 to 2004, Eden Prairie experienced a 541% increase in food shelf usage according to Hunger Solutions Minnesota. These changes put increased pressure on People Reaching Out to People (PROP), the local food shelf and emergency services provider. With significant limitations on space and resources, PROP Food Shelf was unable to meet the growing need for clothing, household goods, and furniture.

Concerned community members decided to form a new and separate organization from the food shelf to provide more services to local families. They envisioned an organization with space to provide free clothing, household goods, and furniture to local families in need. They also pictured a resale store to provide funds for operating costs and programs, such as the purchase of new socks and underwear for families. The PROP Shop opened its doors to the community on April 11, 2007.

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The PROP Shop saw a significant increase in the number of families needing help in 2008 and 2009 due to the economic crisis and now serves, on average, 300 to 350 families each month and over 700 families each year. Since the PROP Shop opened, more than 2,850 families have received clothing, household goods, and furniture conservatively valued at more than $2,500,000.

We can tell you the number of families we’ve assisted since we opened (2,850 and counting) or the number of active client families we have now (over 750). We can tell you the stories of children who are sleeping in their first beds or of families that finally have pots and pans and enough silverware for everyone. We can tell you about giving kids winter coats, boots, and mittens so they can safely get to school. The numbers tell part of the story.

The PROP Shop’s programs deliver beds to families whose kids are sleeping on the floor and help people transitioning from homelessness to furnish their apartments. Clothes from the PROP Shop help individuals find jobs and attend school. Support from the local community has made these services to local families possible, and the PROP Shop thanks its donors, shoppers, volunteers, and partners.

We all need support to get through tough times. Our mission is to provide this support for any family or individual struggling with having enough resources. We do this with the help of the entire Eden Prairie community, its elected officials, its businesses, its residents.

There are so many varied ways that the community has helped the PROP Shop make a difference — financial donations, time donations, service, and items. 

 

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How it Works

Community members donate gently used clothing, household goods, and furniture which are either sold in the resale store (PROP Shop) or given directly for free to local families in need (The Family Service area). The store is full of quality clothing, household items, and furniture for sale to the general public. All of the proceeds from sales in the PROP Shop go to the The Family Service area. The Family Service area helps local families with free clothing, household goods, and furniture.

The PROP Shop’s mission is to provide basic support for families in need through volunteers, community, and other organizations.

Everyone is welcome to shop

The resale store supports operations and enables the PROP Shop’s program services. Proceeds from the store are used to buy basic need items such as socks, underwear, blankets, sheets, and towels for families in need.

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The PROP Shop has a small staff and more than 350 enthusiastic and helpful volunteers. Cindy Eddy, Executive Director and Founder, has a door filled with signatures of the numerous volunteers who have given their time to help out in the PROP shop. 

"People want to help, they just don't know how or where."- Cindy Eddy (Founder)

PROP Shop as Part of a Giving Community

The PROP Shop is proud to be part of the local community which works together to serve the needs of local families. More than 3,100 people have volunteered at the PROP Shop. Over 25,000 people have donated clothing, household goods, and furniture. Businesses and school classes/clubs have organized drives of needed items like towels, mittens, and socks. Girl Scout Troops and Eagle Scout projects have provided us with landscaping, bookshelves, picnic benches, and more.

This community has truly embraced what the PROP Shop is doing to help families in need.

Meanwhile, the PROP Shop works in partnership with organizations such as the City of Eden Prairie, the EP Community Foundation, Rotary Clubs, Lions, Lionesses, local schools, local churches, and many local businesses including Flagship Bank to support families in need. 

Families in Eden Prairie and Chanhassen may receive free clothing, household goods, and furniture. Please visit the Getting Help page if you or someone you know needs help.

 

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