Monday, March 25, 2013

DI: It's Not Just a Thrift Store

I’m wearing everything from a thrift store.  Even my shoes.  Why would I tell you this?  I’m here to tell you about the deep doctrine of DI.  DI is more than a thrift store and yes, that probably has been a tag line or in a commercial, but it’s true.  DI is self sufficient and runs only on donations.  There are 43 DI stores in 7 western states: WA, OR, CA, ID, UT, NV and AZ.

2 things are unique about our DI here in Twin.  We employ the largest amount of refuges  except for the ones in Utah than all the others.  Twin DI is not self supporting which means we have to do “donation sharing.”  We get things from the humanitarian center in SLC.   So, lesson one- bring in your stuff! 

Twin DI has community partnerships with about 30 programs/ agencies in Magic Valley. One of those places is TF School district.  For example.  My friend who is a single mom with 5 kids and has 1 daughter.  Her teacher noticed that she had only 2 pairs of pants.  One day she came home with 3 pairs of pants.  Where did her teacher get them?  DI. 

The bishops can use DI to help families in need.  For instance, take my friend Cyndy who is a manager of low income housing.  One family, not LDS, had a fire in their dryer.  ALL the kids’ clothes were burned up.  ALL of them.  ALL that was left for the kids was what they were wearing.  Cyndy went to the Bishop, told him the situation and he wrote out a voucher for 200 dollars worth of clothes for the family.  The bishop is the bishop for everyone within the ward boundaries- even those not of our faith.

Another bishop wanted to help a man here with a ½ way house he was starting.  He got the man vouchers for 15 beds for this house.  These are not old mattresses.  The church has a factory in SLC that makes them.  All mattress companies send their merchandise to  Missouri to be tested with a gigantic roller.  LDS mattresses are with the same quality and caliber for companies like Serta!  Seriously!  And for 2/3 of the price!!!!  
This is an example of the actual furniture!

The church also has a furniture factory that makes solid wood NICE quality tables, chairs, and bed sets and frames.  You can see them in the store and ask for one.  They are in the back- ready to be bought! 

DI also squashes bundles of clothes into ½ a ton barrels and sells them to other companies or it goes to the humanitarian center for the 3rd world countries we send aid to.  We give stuff to Catholic charities and let them put their name on it, not ours. 
DI, pays for the employee’s salary, the building, the lighting, etc.  But when there is extra money it goes to help others get jobs.  We help members as well as non-members. 48% now at DI  in Twin Falls are not of our faith.  The extra money goes to help those workers go to school and get jobs. 

Our own Merna was employed at DI and needed to call her Bishop.  She was not a member (yet!).  Everyone that works there needs to get a hold of their bishop and get his help with goals and what that person wants to accomplish.  One of the people that have worked at DI walked across the Sahara desert, then floated on something in the ocean till he was picked up and brought to America.  He was escaping a war torn land.  He worked here in Twin Falls.  He told a manager that he would rather face the desert than the ocean! (not to self) 

Here are few stories to help you understand what this DI, this “more than a thrift store can do.”   Take Wes.  He’s a excellent swimmer, so much so that he is in the junior Olympics’ and goes to Paris to compete for the USA.  He has offers from colleges for full ride scholarships, but Wes, gets into drugs.  It becomes so bad that his family tells him to not come around.  He cannot see his nieces and nephews and Wes gets in trouble with the law and finds himself in prison. Part of Prison is drug rehab and before he can even leave, he has to have a job!  It’s pretty hard to find a job when you’re in jail!  But his bishop comes to visit him and gets him a job with DI.  He can leave.  Part of the DI program is for each person to have a mentor.  The bishop feels inspirited to have a man his age but married with kids be his mentor.   His mentor, not knowing what to do at first, invites him over for dinner, for barbecues and becomes his friend.  Wes needs new friends, he can’t go back to his old friends or he’ll get back into drugs.  Wes now has a friend, and a job.  DI has strict rules.  You have to show up on time and be there 96% of the time.  Absolutely no cell phones on the job.  These are rules that most companies have and that for most of the employees need to learn.  Each employee goes through reviews.  Goals are set by the employee and he/she evaluates himself on how he is doing.   Goals can be get a driver’s license, get a GED, become A CNA.  They pay for training programs nearby colleges have.  Wes now has a good job with a good company and he is successful.  That is why DI is more than a thrift store.  The money only goes to do good.  The money goes to help the poor and needy. 

Another story:  Mari Smith and her husband have triplets, her husband is a contractor building million dollar homes and then the economy goes bad and they can’t even pay their own rent.  The husband is depressed.  He finally went to the bishop, who sent him to the stake president (both to see if they knew of anything one or anything that could help him get work)  He goes back to his bishop and he gives his a recommendation to DI.  He gets him a job at DI.  Can you imagine the humility it took to go from building million dollar homes to working at DI?  DI can see this man has potential and skills.  To reestablish himself, the bishop needs to know exactly what he wants to do.  He decides he wants to become a Nursing assistant.  DI splits the cost with him for the schooling and now he is standing next to heart surgeons holding the heart, because he became an orderly first.  This man when he was working at DI had a friend there named Bill.  Bill had become homeless and this man went and found him and got him back on at DI and made sure Bill was OK! 
behind the scenes with the donations.  

One person Crystal from Peru doesn't speak much English.  Her job coach sees more in her, treats her with respect, helps her get in English classes, which in some areas DI offers.  Helped her get a GED and then she become a CNA.  The more resources the better you can help a person.

Another sister who says about herself she had no friends in HS and was not very smart so she dropped out.  She gets a job at DI and blossoms and 2 years later she is training those that are new at DI.

Carlos had a pharmacy for 28 years in his country.  He comes to the USA and all he can do is clean the floors in Rite Aid.  He thinks he can get a job as a driver.  He goes to the bishop and the bishop sees that he is more than a day laborer and helps him get a job at DI who then pays for him to go to become a pharmacy tech.  DI pays his wages for 3 months.  The pharmacy hires him on, because his people skills are awesome.  Everyone knows him and loves him.  This leads him to his wife getting a job there too, and then his daughter goes through the program and becomes a CNA.   They all testify to there being a light in their lives now.  They have someone who cares.

Community partnerships that will help families with rent, food, clothes and shoes, also helps with self-esteem.  Giving them a gift card is no guarantee that they will get what they need.  Taking them there, helping these children pick out their first coat, their first pillow, their own blanket.  When money is low for those community agencies, Di will raise their grants.

There are no DI thrift stores outside of those 7 states I mentioned, but the program is everywhere.  There are offices, (23 I think) in places like Texas, NY, Mexico, and the Philippines that do the same thing- help pay and train and work with people that need help. It all works through the bishops! The miracles can happen anywhere! 

DI is more than a thrift store because it transforms people’s lives.  The savior was always encouraging, helping and serving the individual.  That is what DI does.  You bring in old things and they become new to someone else.  DI does that with clothes and people as well!  

How is this all done?  How it all is paid for?  From the sales of those donations!  When we donate we are helping in more than one way.  We are helping many, many people’s lives to change for the better.

“Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
“And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.” (Alma 37:6–7 The Book of Mormon) 

1 comment:

Michaela Stephens said...

Thanks for this info. I think I will probably be able to help someone now.