Lafayette Boutique Owners Give Free Shopping to Forest Fire Victims
Due South has already organized $ 500 shopping sprees for 80 women affected by the Marshall fire, and there is a waiting list of other victims who need help.
LAFAYETTE, Colorado – When thinking about disaster recovery, stocking a pretty boutique store might not seem like an essential job. However, when the fires spared the women’s clothing store Due South in Lafayette, the owners opened their businesses to any woman affected by the fires, inviting them to do their shopping for free.
“Watching the news and then seeing it all the next day is heartbreaking,” said Noel DeVries, owner of Due South with his daughter and son-in-law. “So we were looking for ways to reach out to the community and just give hope,” she said.
Due South posted on social media that the store will offer $ 500 in purchases to all women in need of assistance after the fire. People from across the country have started to donate to the cause and Due South, increasing the total enough to welcome more than 40 women. As donations have continued to arrive, the store has managed to help another 40 and there is now a waiting list for other victims in need.
“People were walking through the door in tears, I got to hug and give free drinks and come in and spend five hundred bucks and you don’t think about a thing,” DeVries said.
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The DeVries store is eclectic, even in its decor. Fire hoses the family found in an antique store hang from rafters and serve as product platforms. An involuntary nod, say the owners, to their family’s history with the fire. A story that makes them all the more qualified to help their neighbors in need.
“My earliest childhood memory is holding my grandmother’s hand… walking through the rubble,” said DeVries daughter Dennae Hill.
When Hill was a child and his parents had just moved the family to Colorado to start a church, an electrical fire that brought their house down to the ground, exactly 28 years before the Marshall Fire.
“It was very raw then and like, ‘What are we going to do?’,” DeVries recalls. “And God has provided in an incredible way for us. “
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DeVries says she can see the same uncertainty and pain in those who come to her store for help, and can offer advice from her personal experience.
“It’s tough,” DeVries said. “It’s not easy. But there is hope beyond this moment.”
“A girl walked in yesterday and she just looked at me and there was a connection,” Hill said. “We had the most amazing hug I needed, she needed. It was special. It was something I could give away from clothes… a connection to someone goes way beyond material things.
Due South now has a waiting list of women in need of clothing. The concern now is how the small store can handle the volume. Owners are encouraging anyone who wants to help connect with them on their Instagram account @ due.sud and owners will post updates as they find out how to move forward.
RELATED: Marshall Fire Victims Assistance Center Opens
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