LONG BRANCH, NJ - FCS (Family & Children's Service), Monmouth County's oldest, private nonprofit social service agency, this week announced that its Thrift Boutique, located at 307 Branchport Avenue in Long Branch, will be closed indefinitely due to fire. The blaze, which broke out in the upstairs apartment of the building on Thursday, July 7th, was contained to the upstairs unit and no one was injured, but the resulting smoke and water damage have forced the agency to temporarily suspend business.
"We are most grateful that no one was injured," says FCS CEO Delly Beekman.
"In fighting the fire, water poured through the building down into the Thrift Boutique. The store now has an overwhelming smoky odor; ceiling tiles became saturated, bulged, and broke onto the floor; the firewall between the apartment and the shop was compromised; and our inventory must be discarded."
The FCS Thrift Boutique sells donated men's and women's clothing, shoes and accessories at a greatly reduced price and uses the proceeds to fund many of the agency's 14 programs and services. Ms. Beekman says the shuttering of the thrift store will temporarily impact the agency's bottom line, but she is hopeful for its future.
"Our Thrift Boutique would not exist without the wonderful generosity of our community, both those who bring clothing donations and those who shop in the store," Ms. Beekman explains. "In 2015 we received close to 900 donations!
Since 1909 FCS has served some of the most vulnerable people in Monmouth County and we now find ourselves in a vulnerable position as the income from the Thrift Boutique contributed to supporting our programs and services that prevent homelessness; care for the elderly and disabled; investigate cases of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation; support children's literacy and more."
Since FCS lacks additional storage space, Ms. Beekman is asking supporters to hold onto their donations of clothing, shoes and other goods until the agency has a better understanding of when the store can reopen. Those wishing to make a donation of clothing only can still do so by depositing their clothes in the collection bin located outside the agency's office at
191 Bath Avenue in Long Branch. For more information call 732-222-9111 or visit www.fcsmonmouth.org