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2 min read

From Recovery to Retail: Hope comes from UGM Thrift Stores

Three women from the UGM Recovery program achieved well-deserved positions at the Coeur d’Alene Thrift Store. Megan, Debra, and Starla serve as inspiring examples of individuals who are utilizing tools acquired in program to become God-dependent, contributing members of society. Hear about their experiences at the store that helps fund the program that brought them healing. 


 

 

Speaking Hope

In 2012, Starla was one of the first women to enter UGM Women’s Recovery in Coeur d’Alene when it opened. Years later, the new store was built just 10 minutes north on Government Way. Starla was unemployed after enduring hand surgery and found herself scrolling through job postings. After seeing an opening at the Union Gospel Mission store, she couldn’t help but feel like she was being called back to the place where her life had changed. “I felt it in my spirit: That’s where I’m supposed to be.”

 

“I felt it in my spirit: That’s where I’m supposed to be.”

 

 

Today, as the Retail Manager, Starla enjoys sharing with customers about what their dollars mean to her. “What they’re doing when they buy stuff here—it’s transforming lives and I get to speak to that personally…I get to speak hope to people whose family members are struggling with addiction and homelessness. Just to let them know there’s a choice and an option and it works.”

CDA-Thrift-Ladies

 

Employment Readiness Changes Lives

Debra, the Retail and Processing Lead, started at the Spokane Valley store with an ETO (Employment Training Opportunity) position before being hired to help open the Coeur d’Alene store in 2021. ETO positions provide residents with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the community while being supported and guided by UGM.  

 

 

“Y’all are the family that I don’t have.
And we’re doing good things for people.”

 

 

While talking about her positive experience at UGM, Debra turned to her coworkers and said, “Y’all are the family that I don’t have. And we’re doing good things for people.” Her testimony resonates with others who have gone through program, while also encouraging customers and donors. 

Debra shared, “I’m not ashamed to tell my story. If it wasn’t for God and UGM, I’d definitely be dead…It’s very important, them buying items from here. It helps save people like us.” Her profound recovery is a daily testament to the customers and donors of the hope and life change they support through the UGM Thrift Stores.

 

 

Unexpected Community

In 2022, Megan started at the Coeur d’Alene store expecting to work there only temporarily. “I was going to work here in Phase Two of the program so I could make money to save for a car and pay off all my court fines.”

 

 

“When I started working here and started working with the other graduates of the program, it just became a really special job to me.”

 

 

However, this role ended up offering Megan more than she ever expected. “When I started working here and started working with the other graduates of the program, it just became a really special job to me.”

Recently promoted to Retail Assistant Manager, she laughs because she never imagined herself in retail. Despite her initial hesitations, Megan was met with encouragement by those who saw her strengths and potential in the store environment. “[My supervisors Jaclyn and Lee] looked past all my flaws…they really defended me where it counted and believed in me.” The supportive culture that has been established at the Thrift Stores shows employees that they are seen, known, and valued.

 

 

Pouring Back Into UGM

Megan, Debra, and Starla serve together with a deep, personal understanding of the life change that is happening in and through UGM. By serving customers, receiving and organizing donated items, and ensuring a clean and functional floorspace, their team helps pave a pathway out of homelessness and addiction for men, women, and children in need. For people like them.

Make a visit to any of our three Thrift Stores, say hello to the passionate teams, and support life transformation at Union Gospel Mission!

CDA-Thrift

 

Locations 


          Downtown Spokane – 301 W. Boone Ave. | 509.326.3316

          Spokane Valley – 11921 E. Sprague Ave. | 509.927.5905

          Coeur d'Alene – 7761 N. Government Way | 208.664.2338

 

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. 

Visit our Enterprises page for more information!  

 

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