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Calumet free store renovation applauded

May 24, 2011
By KURT HAUGLIE - Houghton Daily Mining Gazette , The Mining Journal

CALUMET - Tammy Cohen was looking through clothing items on a rack in the Angel Mission Free Store and commenting on how important it is to the community.

"I've definitely gotten a lot of stuff here," she said. "I help out with my daughter, who's starting a family."

Cohen said she used the Free Store to also help furnish her apartment.

About 6 years ago, the Angel Mission Free Store opened in Calumet and it's now in its third location in the village.

Ann Normand, free store director, said the current location is well used, but it got crowded with items making it a little difficult for people to move around. To remedy that situation, it was recently reorganized with the help of volunteers.

"We have very many friends who helped build shelves," she said. "It's easier for people to shop. We have room for more items."

Located on the corner of Fifth and Oak streets, the store now has a storeroom where items are sorted before being placed on shelves or racks.

Besides the free store, Normand said the Angel Mission conducts a coat giveaway in the fall and backpack giveaway for school children, which are collected in July and August.

"They're given away just before school starts," she said.

During the Christmas holiday season, Normand said the Angel Mission conducts its Angel Tree, which provides cards with the ages of children for whom people can buy gifts.

Normand said it was decided last year to add teens to the Angel Tree.

"I've noticed over the years the teenagers get forgotten," she said.

The free store has a food pantry, as well, and food is collected during food drives or by people bringing food to the store. The next food drive will be in June, Normand said.

Food is given out once a month, but the other items in the store are available whenever people need them.

The free store has clothing for all ages, household items, furniture and clean, functioning appliances, which are very popular.

"They're gone in seconds," she said.

Normand said if people who have recently suffered a hardship, such as a fire, they'll get first choice of items, even before they're placed on the floor.

Normand said the idea for the Angel Mission store came about after she realized there are people in the community who need help but don't say anything.

"You don't always know when your neighbors need something," she said. The store "is like a middle ground.

"It definitely helps out the community."

The Angel Mission Free Store hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.



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