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New thrift store, coffee shop to benefit homeless veterans

(WEAU)
Published: Nov. 30, 2016 at 6:12 PM CST
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A new coffee shop and thrift store all in one opened Wednesday in Tomah.

It's part of a program that aims to help homeless veterans get back on their feet.

The new "G.I. Need That" thrift store and "Cup O' Joe" coffee shop are more than just some clever names.

It's an effort to raise funds for the Veterans Assistance Foundation and its mission of helping homeless veterans.

Over the last year the foundation renovated an old hardware store and tattoo parlor in downtown Tomah.

Proceeds from everything purchased at the shops will go to the Veterans Assistance Foundation.

Also, homeless veterans are able to take items from the thrift store to furnish a place to stay.

And there's still more to come.

The second floor of the building will be turned into eight apartments for homeless veterans.

A small space outside will be turned into a garden and seating area.

"I do think that this makes us stand out more than other programs," said Dawn Ollendick, Program Director for the Veterans Assistance Foundation. "We do have our veterans, they come in here and volunteer, some of them are actually applying to work here, we are going to be hiring three part-time people."

The store is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The thrift store takes donations any time it's open.

Statement from Chris Hanson, President and CEO of the Veterans Assistance Foundation, who is currently serving in Afghanistan: 

"I would like to say that even as far away as Afghanistan, I am thrilled and so proud of our staff and veterans for battling through the adversity we have faced these past few months.  The opening of the stores is the culmination of the efforts of many who have pulled together to volunteer and give back to the community and our veterans.  I cannot wait to return to Tomah and have an awesome cup of coffee with our team.  It's great to finally see our vision coming together."