In 2016, the Durrence family suffered the tragic loss of their oldest daughter.
Still reeling, they moved to Glennville, Georgia, and joined a new church. One Sunday, they met a trio of sisters who were living with a foster family nearby. They hit it off immediately, so when the girls were going to be put in separate foster homes a few years later, they turned to matriarch Linda Durrence for help.
Their oldest sister had turned 18 and left the foster care system, and Linda didn’t hesitate to welcome the younger two girls into her home with open arms. However, when they showed up on her doorstep, Linda was taken aback. Like many children in foster care, the girls had no real belongings of their own. They didn’t even have a suitcase to pack their meager belongings in.
“The first thing that broke my heart was that they came with a trash bag that wasn’t even halfway full with clothes that didn’t fit them,” Linda recalled. “They had one hairbrush. They did each have a toothbrush, but they only had like a trial size thing of toothpaste. They had no shampoo, no conditioner, no nothing.”
The first thing Linda and her husband did was take the girls shopping. Just having their own toiletries and clothes that fit was a welcome relief to the girls.
“We watched them transition from a place of pure brokenness and they blossomed,” said Linda.
The idea of blossoming stuck in her mind, as did the image of the children turning up with just a garbage bag full of too-small clothes.
“It just kept staying on my mind,” she said.
She felt grateful that they could afford everything they need for their family while still helping their foster children, but she kept thinking about people who aren’t as fortunate.
“What about the families that can’t go out and buy them what they need?” she asked herself. “Just the bare minimum, the necessities.”
The idea of opening a shop offering free clothes and personal items lingered in the back of her brain for years. Last December, when a vacant shop popped up in a nearby shopping center, she pounced! Linda opened Blossom, a by-appointment boutique that gives out free items to anyone in need.
“We’re already serving families, even though we’re not officially open,” Linda said. “We just want to make a difference in our community and our surrounding communities.”
At Blossom, families are able to pick up seven full sets of clothes and shoes free of charge. They can come back every quarter for size and season changes. She’s relying on donations to keep the shop going.
Linda hopes that getting new clothing will give foster children more confidence. She wants them all to have the same opportunity to blossom as her own foster children, whom they officially adopted in 2018.
Linda says if the shop is successful, she hopes to add an education center to assist foster kids struggling academically.
What a beautiful way to make a huge difference in so many people’s lives!
Share this story to thank Linda for her hard work and wish her all the best with the opening of Blossom!
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