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Building gets new life as Second Life
0429 2nd Life ribbon cut
The Effingham Chamber of Commerce helps cut the ribbon on the Second Life Thrift Store in Guyton. The store is being operated by Living Independence for Everyone. - photo by Photo provided

The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Second Life Thrift Store in Guyton. Life Director, Fran Todd, along with local manager, Nina Dasher, welcomed the crowd gathered to celebrate the store’s opening next to the Guyton City Hall.

Living Independence for Everyone (LIFE), Inc. a service and advocacy organization run by and for people with disabilities held their grand opening ribbon cutting celebration yesterday for their branch office in Guyton.  LIFE has been serving people with disabilities and their families in 11 counties in southeast Georgia for 25 years. Their mission is to level the playing field for people with disabilities in order to create a world in which everyone can fully participate. They do this by providing services such as information and referral, independent living skills training, peer support, advocacy and home modifications.

They also provide a variety of services to the community such as disability awareness/etiquette training and working with businesses to make sure they are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

LIFE’s main office is located on the Southside of Savannah, but three years ago they opened a branch office in the United Way Service Center in Rincon.  And although they still have a space in the UW building on Wednesday, they recently moved this branch office into the little white building located next to Guyton City Hall. While their ultimate goal for this office is to provide the same quality services to people with disabilities in Effingham and Bulloch counties, they added something a little different to this office. In an effort to offset significant funding cuts this year, LIFE’s board and staff decided to add a revenue generating component to their rural office by  opening a gently used clothing store for children.

“We knew absolutely nothing about opening up a clothing store,” Todd said, “but knew that we had to do something to keep our services going because further funding cuts are inevitable. We did a lot of praying. God answered our prayers by putting the right people in our path at just the right time. While we are very proud of our little building, we are cognizant of the fact that it would have never happened without the help of those who believe in our mission and are well aware of the lives that have been changed through our programs and services. Scott Keiffer (Keiffer Construction) was most definitely a godsend, as was Robert Mingledorff with Galbreath’s Heating and Air. These guys, along with several others, helped us turn a lump of coal — and that’s being generous — into a diamond. We will never be able to repay them for their generosity and kindness, but they don’t expect us to. They are just awesome people.”

Second LIFE, as the new building is named, is at 308 Central Ave. in Guyton and is open Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Wednesdays beginning at noon. They are currently accepting donations of gently used clothing (infants to size 16) with no stains or tears. Donations are tax deductible.