PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — The community stepped up in a big way donating after the pandemic took away a local nonprofits’ main source of income.

Acres of Hope, a center for homeless women and children, lost 40% of their funding after they were forced to shut the doors of their thrift store “Renew” due to COVID-19 precautions.

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That funding helps women like, Lauren Baas, whose life looked a lot different a year ago.

“Hopeless, broken, and lost” — that’s how Baas describes how she felt when she first came to Acres of Hope in 2019.

“Now, I feel like I have a clear direction. Like, I have a strong faith in myself and that I have a lot of hope,” she said.

When Baas first arrived at Acres of Hope, she had just escaped an abusive relationship and was trying to take care of her two-year-old son. She found new life at the nonprofit center that provided her with housing, mentoring, and job and life skills she never imagined.

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“I think I would still be kind of lost. I have never had an opportunity like this, to sit down and figure out where I was heading and what that was going to look like,” Baas explained.

The same programs that helped Baas were put in jeopardy in the last two months. The center lost around $27,000 in a matter of weeks when they were forced to close the doors of their store Renew. The center was forced to let go of their 90 volunteers and reduce staffing.

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“When we had to close those doors to protect our volunteers, staff and of course our customers; it was a big hit,” said Executive Director Lisa Risdal.

All that changed last month, during Sacramento’s “Big Day of Giving.” The community donated $105,000 to the center, close to triple the amount of money they’ve received in previous years.

“We hunkered down and we limited any expenditures that we had with the goal to be able to maintain all of our families and keep them healthy and safe, especially now. To be able to continue as much programming as we can for them until we can come out the other side of this. So, being able to receive that level of support obviously is helping to fill that gap in a big way,” said Risdal.

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It’s a hope restored, Baas knows first hand as she is now living on her own and looking towards the future.

“If you are coming from a place where you feel hopeless, been through domestic violence. You are struggling, you don’t see where the future is going, it is vital to the community and for women like me; because it changes their life,” she said.

Renew plans to reopen Tuesday, May 19 with limited hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday- Saturday.

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