Updated: Nov 11, 2022
She arrived at the boutique late ....the volunteers were tired and ready to go
home. They could have turned her away and would have missed the impact we
made on one another. She was not turned away. She was greeted with love and
honor and began to “shop” for the items that are offered at Ruth’s Boutique.
She had been at a local gas station getting breakfast and was told about Ruth's
Boutique by another customer. She had never heard of it before, but was
intrigued. She was staying with family in a new town and didn’t know much about
the community, let alone the programs in that community. Because of what she
heard at the gas station, she walked to 22 N. Market St. where the Boutique is
housed. She apologized for being late and told the volunteers that she had
walked several blocks to take part in this service. She was in her mid-70’s.
After she got her items, she came to my office and began to tell her story. She had
recently moved to a family member’s house and was sleeping on their couch. She
had no car, no income and no real support. The family threatened to kick her out
many times and she knew that one day it would no longer be a threat. She lived in
fear of this, but it seemed that this fear was nothing new to her. It was a part of
the fabric that threaded her life.
Fast forward a few months: this lovely lady had been coming to Ruth’s Boutique
faithfully with a smile on her face when she’d see us. She was engaging with the
volunteers and felt cared for. This seemed to be a new experience for her and she
really didn’t seem to know what to do with that, but you could tell she
The next month, our friend walked in with bruises on her face and neck. Our volunteers
were clearly concerned, but she seemed to be nonchalant about the whole thing. When
asked what happened, she reported a family member hit her. This was not the first time
something like this happened.
Our volunteers quickly went to work assisting our friend in finding a shelter for abused
women. She was given the information and did an intake on-site with the coordinator of
the shelter. Thrive 10:10’s program Ruth’s Boutique was a connector. The volunteers
developed a relationship with this lovely lady in the short few months she attended with
us. She developed trust...something she did not do very easily. She was given the
opportunity to get out of a dangerous situation.
Because she had the relationship established, she trusted the volunteers enough to allow
them to help her link to services.
Because our volunteers were trained in Bridges Out of Poverty and are given
opportunities to get new tools to better assist those they serve, they were able to
knowledgeably assist someone who may not have the same background or experiences.
We often talk of Ruth’s Boutique as the bridge for women who struggle to afford feminine
hygiene products for work or school and this is a big part of what we do, but we also serve
women and families of all ages. Our youngest participant is 12 and our oldest is in her
80’s. They are all important to us. They all have individual stories and needs and they are
all worth our time, effort and resources.
Our friend is just one example of those we serve. Please know that when you give to
Thrive 10:10 and its programs, you are giving to your neighbor. Thank you!
Meghan DeGregory, Operations Director