The Purple Door: Why I volunteer at Second Chance Thrift Store

Published 8:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2018

Second Chance Thrift Store, located at 232 E. Mills St. in Columbus, supports the shelter and programs at Steps to HOPE, the domestic violence and sexual assault center serving and educating western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina.

Second Chance is managed by Edith Lance, and employs four part-time people who are responsible for pick-ups, sorting, cleaning and merchandizing the clothing, furniture and household items that are generously donated by the community. Most of the people who work in the store do so as volunteers, and do not receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for their time and labor.

Each volunteer has a reason and a story to tell about why they volunteer. This is one of those stories:

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My relative thought he loved her. 

She thought she loved him.

So why did he beat her, resulting in a hospitalization for a broken wrist, three broken ribs and bruises all over her face, neck and arms? 

The psychological bruising was not so visually evident.

The first episode resulted in several months of jail time and a restraining order. Through a friend, he deeply apologized to her and asked to see her, when he was released. 

She took a chance. She still loved him. She thought he loved her. 

When she opened the door to him, he beat both her and her mother to the point of both of them requiring hospitalization. He is back in jail, with a four-year restraining order protecting both her and her mother.

Obviously, she made an error in judgment. In my opinion, if she had lived in an area that had a shelter like Polk County’s Steps to HOPE, she might have had counseling about domestic violence and the underpinnings of abuse: control and power. 

I volunteer at Second Chance Thrift Store because the store provides a substantial portion of Steps to HOPE’s yearly budget. It is amazing how many people who each work three volunteer hours (or more) per week can make a difference to those who are caught in the vicious cycle of domestic violence. 

More volunteers are needed in several areas of the store. Please call 828-894-2373 for more information about volunteering.

If you or someone you know is being abused, please speak up! Please call Steps to HOPE at 828-894-2340 or visit

For volunteer opportunities at Second Chance Thrift Store, please call Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Wicklund at 828-894-2340 or email her at

By Dr. Ruby Drew

Dr. Ruby Drew