A new home for Lake Placid’s food pantry and thrift store

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Last November Lake Placid’s one and only thrift store closed.

It was a big blow for the community and the local food pantry, which received the proceeds from the Helping Hands Thrift Shop.

But after a big community push, both the thrift and the food pantry are getting a new home, in a 3,000 square foot building to be built this summer.

A decades old institution closes its doors…

In the late 1980s, Linda Young started the Ecumenical Charity Program in Lake Placid.

For over three decades, the nonprofit organization, ran a food pantry and a thrift shop.

Both programs ran out of small spaces: the food pantry out of the basement of St. Agnes Church, and the thrift in a tiny, two room building on George and Bliss Lane, near the Lake Placid boat launch.

Last November, the Helping Hands Thrift Shop had to close its doors. The building it was housed in was deteriorating, and Linda Young couldn’t find another suitable and affordable location.

It seemed like the end of a long running and well-loved resource.

Community comes together to build a new space

But just four months later, after a big community push and a lot of collaboration, there are plans to build a new and much bigger home for both the food pantry and thrift shop.

“We will be able to put it up this summer,” said Steve Sama, the builder behind Homestead Development Corporation, which is the affordable housing developer that built Fawn Valley in Lake Placid. “They’ll have a new 3000 square foot facility that the thrift shop and the food pantry can start using right away,” said Sama.

Drawings of the building from Simplex Homes. Homestead Development will build the structure in the summer of 2024.

Drawings of the building from Simplex Homes. Homestead Development will build the structure in the summer of 2024.

Homestead Development has agreed to build a new space for the Ecumenical Charities.

Sama says a lot of people came together to make the new building possible. It’ll be built on land the Lake Placid School District owns. The village of Lake Placid and the town of North Elba are both committed to providing money and resources. The Adirondack Foundation is organizing fundraising for the $850,000 project.

“It’s in the early stages of fundraising, but there’s a very high degree of interest on the part of a lot of parties,” said Sama. He’s confident they’ll be able to raise the money. Homestead will be contributing some volunteer labor in the build as well.

Sama said Homestead’s mission is to make it possible for essential workers to live in the place they work, and the thrift and food pantry are algined with that. “This kind of fits into our mission too, to help out with putting a new building for them,” said Sama. “It’s really important that people have access to clothing and furnishings that that they can afford to buy, and 38% of Lake Placid’s school students are food challenged.”