The Idyllwild HELP Center has been the consistent go-to for those who need assistance. The thrift store has helped furnish homes and uplift spirits without breaking the bank.
During these tough times, the HELP Center continues to adapt in order to be of service in the safest way possible.
In mid-July, Julia Ledesma, Idyllwild HELP Center store manager, decided to create an online store. This online presence allows those who want to shop for special items a way to do so without having to come to the store if they feel unsafe due to COVID-19. It also allows you to shop from anywhere in the world.
“Our goal is to be here for the community,” said Colleen Meyer, Idyllwild HELP Center’s executive director. “We want to meet the need the community has without them being concerned about being exposed to COVID-19. Some people are still scared to come out.”
There’s a little something for everyone in the online store — clothing, art, jewelry, collectibles, crafts and hobbies, books and much more. The site is updated multiple times a week and can have up to 500 items available at one time.
“We have 10 categories,” Ledesma said. “We felt like putting crafts and hobbies up was important during this time with kids being home. That’s been a popular category.”
The store has been shipping items in addition to contactless curbside pick-up for those in town who can or want to pick up their items.
The HELP Center office has made some adjustments to keep their staff and visitors safe.
The HELP Center received a grant through the Idyllwild Community Fund for $7,500 to help those in need.
“They pulled out more money than they allotted to facilitate our entire request of $7,500,” Meyer said. “With that, we can help 75 households with assistance with electricity or propane. We have gift certificates for local grocery stores also.”
The HELP Center received 10,000 masks from Supervisor Chuck Washington’s office for those who need them.
“We want to provide masks to the places that need them most,” Meyer said. “We need to support them and make sure they don’t get sick. We’ll be delivering them to those businesses and organizations that are in need.”
With children back in school, the HELP Center adapted to the needs of online learning.
“We usually give out backpacks with supplies, but this year, we gave out headsets to help with online learning,” Meyer explained. “We are willing to do whatever is needed to help the children, parents and teachers. Just reach out to us and we’ll do what we can to help.”
The organization is in need of supplies for their food pantry and asked for the public’s help to make that happen.
“We’re still struggling with our food pantry and paper products because they just aren’t available,” Meyer said. “Even gift certificates are so helpful.”
he HELP Center continues to work tirelessly to make our community a better place. Helping those in need is their priority and they are willing to go the extra mile.
“I never want people to leave worse than when they came here,” Meyer said. “Whatever we can do to help our community, we will do.”
You can check out the HELP Center’s new online store at https://www.idyhelpcenter.org/.
The HELP Center is currently open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you would like to donate food or paper goods, call the HELP Center’s office at 951-659-2110 to schedule an appointment. To reach the thrift store, call 951-659-3000.
“The HELP Center office has been doing food deliveries, food vouchers by fax and scheduling our on-site appointments far enough apart so people aren’t here at the same time risking their safety,” Meyer explained. “We can also facilitate needs via email or by phone. Whatever people need.”