Sharon King said for a nonprofit like Raleigh’s Place, running a thrift store in a drafty, old building was an expensive proposition. But the load has become a little lighter, with the help of Alabama Power and the Alabama Business Charitable Trust Fund.
Raleigh’s Place purchased a 2,200-square-foot building in Clanton in 2019 to house a thrift store. Named in memory of King’s daughter, it is a “Christ-centered” ministry that serves foster children and their families in Chilton County.
“We had a small clothes closet because kids would come to our camp without shorts or bathing suits. But we could never get enough different sizes, so I thought God was leading us to open a thrift store,” said King, executive director of Raleigh’s Place. “We bought this old building, but it was in need of repair, and we needed to replace eight old HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units at $8,500 each.”
That’s when King turned to Alabama Power, where she learned about the Alabama Business Charitable (ABC) Trust Fund’s Efficiency Forward program. It provides grants up to $10,000 to health and human services nonprofit agencies to help pay for upgrades to make their facilities more energy efficient. The goal is to help reduce their energy bills, thus allowing them to pour those funds back into the community.
King said Alabama Power first conducted an energy audit of the facility and offered tips on how to make it more energy efficient. She was advised to upgrade the insulation, install LED lighting and new HVAC units, and replace the weatherstripping throughout the building.
After applying for and receiving the Efficiency Forward grant, King said Raleigh’s Place used the funds to help pay for the HVAC units, lighting and other energy-related improvements.
“Our power bill has been cut by more than half,” King said. “The grant has meant we can provide more programs and services to more children and change more lives. You can never know how much that means. We’re very grateful and thankful for the ABC Trust, and that you offer a hand up for children who don’t have that opportunity without you.”
The thrift store, Katie’s Kloset, opened its doors last spring. It sells everything from clothes to toys to furniture to appliances. The proceeds are used to support Raleigh’s Place programs and services.
Raleigh’s Place – a little girl’s legacy
Raleigh’s Place grew out of a little girl’s daily battle against epilepsy.
Following a routine shot at 18 months old, Sharon and Tim King’s daughter, Raleigh, had a seizure, which led to a fever. Then, she suffered another seizure and fever several months later, causing the child to stop breathing.
After she was taken off a ventilator, Raleigh was never the same, Sharon said. Raleigh had a hard time learning and the number of daily seizures increased as the years passed. Raleigh, who died at nearly 12 years old, often had up to 100 seizures a day, her mother said.
“When Raleigh died, we asked God what he wanted us to do in place of caring for her,” Sharon said. “He said, “You keep doing it, but in place of caring for her, you care for other children.’”
Sharon said that was the foundation for Raleigh’s Place. Its mission is to care for fatherless children, whether they are in foster care, adopted or in a single-parent home.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)