Friday, October 07, 2005

Katrina Store in Richland Hills

Quite by accident, I happened to drive up to the Katrina Store, here in Tarrant County. It's located very close to the Handley-Ederville exit, off I-30. Because I had some time on my hands and am insatiably curious, I parked my car and walked in, just a few paces behind a Latino family who were slowly approaching the entrance. I stopped to study the handwritten signs on the front doors, which detailed the store hours and rules of operation.

Once inside, the attendant sitting behind a big table greeted me and asked if I needed assistance. I could hardly bring myself to look at him as I was completely overwhelmed by the 1) enormity of the space within this store, and 2) was blown away by the gadzillions of goods, clothing, and other merchandise which were attractively displayed on racks, shelves, and tables. Contrasted with a few other Katrina aid stations I'd visited in FW--where the donated items were merely heaped in unrecognizable piles on tabletops--the items at the Katrina Store were better organized by category, with carefully-lettered signage designating item locations.

I was so impressed. According to the attendant, the store is run by the Salvation Army and they plan to keep it open to needy evacuees until "at least December 15th." What an evacuee needs to present in order to "shop" at the Katrina Store is "proof of victim status", which would mean either a Tarrant County-issued "Victim I.D. card" or a driver's license. The store hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:30am-6:30pm, with the last clients admitted at 5pm. Of course, no money is required and everything from personal hygiene kits to kitchen appliances and furniture are free for the taking.


(On the day I visited, a job notice was posted on the front door. "HELP WANTED. FULL-TIME WAREHOUSE HELP. 8AM-5PM. CALL DAVE, 817-838-5196.)

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