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Thrift shop, food pantry expand charity operation
6 RIC Rack pic
A construction crew works on an expansion at the RIC Rack Thrift Store and food pantry last week. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

For the last few years, volunteers at the RIC Rack thrift store and community food pantry have wanted to expand the charity operation.


“We wanted to do this since we expanded the last time, about four years ago,” said Ken Newell, RIC Rack director. “So we kept saving the money.”


Within the next few weeks, the building at the intersection of Hwy. 9 North and Perimeter Road will nearly double in size, thanks to the help of volunteers and a loan from a local bank.


“We’ve basically outgrown what we had,” Newell said last week. “We’ve outgrown our retail area and our food pantry.”


The expansion, which will bring the building to about 22,000 square feet at around $100,000, will also make room for a large furniture section, which Newell said is a big draw for customers.


“It takes a lot to furnish a home, but people can afford it when they shop here.”


The expansion also increases the size of the food pantry, which receives food daily from the local Food Lion, as well as food from Atlanta Food Bank through USDA.


A year ago, the food pantry was serving around 160 families each month.


Newell said the need has increased to between 260 and 280 families each month over the last several months.


“Part of our mission in our charter is to help out other charities. We have to do what we can to help,” Newell said.


The expansion is expected to be complete by the middle of December. In the meantime, Newell said he’s looking for additional volunteers.


“We need volunteers. My goal is to have someone who likes furniture to be in charge of the furniture section. Someone who likes to deal with food working in the food pantry,” he said. “We just need all the community support we can get.”


RIC Rack is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Monday through Saturday.


For more information, contact Newell at (706) 265-1371.