The Soul Dog nonprofit is accepting cash donations and checks to help recover. See souldog.org, drop by the store at 4725 S. Broadway or call 303-857-6789 to ask how to help.
An Englewood thrift store that has become a safe haven for people in need found itself on hard luck after a burglary caused hundreds of dollars in damage to the shop.
In the early morning April 26, the building’s owner received a security phone call and arrived at the shop to find a broken window and a damaged wall, according to Soul Dog Rescue, the animal rescue nonprofit that runs Soul Dog thrift shop on South Broadway.
Someone had stolen a donation jar and a “massive” change jar, the nonprofit’s Facebook page wrote. The money stolen likely totaled only about $75, but the damage the burglary caused dealt a setback to a store that typically sells clothes for just a dollar. The nonprofit runs the thrift store to support its animal rescue efforts.
The April 26 incident wasn’t the only time Soul Dog thrift store has seen crime, said Janet Yench, a 76-year-old volunteer for the store.
Another time, someone took all the money from the register while a volunteer was distracted in a “bait and switch” incident, Yench said. A young couple appeared to have stolen the shop’s donation can in a different theft, and another break-in through the window occurred before, Yench said. The store opened in spring 2014, she said.
“Sadly, after nine-ish years, we feel we are no longer safe in this community,” the Soul Dog nonprofit wrote on Facebook. The post added: “This may be the final straw and we may have no choice but to close to keep our people safe.”
After the nonprofit pays rent and utilities, “everything else goes straight to the animals, straight to the dogs and cats,” Yench said. “That’s what we’re all about: saving lives.”
The store has also become a crucial resource for people experiencing homelessness in the Englewood area, paying for hotel vouchers for some and letting people come in out of the cold — even providing no-cost hats, gloves, scarves, coats and other clothing, according to the Facebook post and Yench.
But the Soul Dog nonprofit’s main mission is to spay and neuter pets to reduce overpopulation, along with protecting animals in other ways, according to its website.
The nonprofit’s team travels to rural communities on Native American reservations, where spaying and neutering “will only happen if it is nearly free or very convenient,” the website says. Soul Dog uses donations to help pay for medications, supplies and the operating cost for clinics.
“It’s hard to say” whether the shop may need to close, Yench said. “We weren’t sure we’d survive COVID-19 a year ago. So we just don’t know.”
So far, the shop, which sits at 4725 S. Broadway, has seen a positive response from the community.
“People have come into the store to offer their help,” including some cash donations, said Yench, who lives in Englewood.
“There’s always an upside because no matter what happens, we’re still going to do good,” Yench said. “And you cannot have too much good in the world.”
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