by Diana Bulls
There’s a new store in downtown Reedley that caters just to kids, and moms looking for a bargain. All parents know how hard it is to provide clothes and shoes for growing kids, not to mention how hard that is on the family budget. Streetlight Kids, located at 960 10th Street, is offering good, used clothes and lots of other things kids need at a good, bargain price.
A spin-off of its parent store, Streetlight Thrift, the kids store has been something of a dream for quite a while. The main thrift store has always just been too full of merchandise to designate a particular area for kids, so when a store front became available on 10th Street, that dream finally became a reality.
Streetlight has been around since 1982. Organized by John Miller and two other men from the First Mennonite Church, the purpose of this community ministry has been to provide affordable clothes, food and spiritual counseling to needy households in Reedley. The original organizers worked hard to raise money to purchase the old Star Theater on G Street as a home base for the organization.
In 1992, Streetlight was incorporated as 501C3 charitable organization. It is governed by a seven-member board of directors. In addition to the two thrift stores, Streetlight has a food distribution center on the grounds of the First United Methodist Church, and also provides spiritual counseling at the main store, Streetlight Thrift.
Because this is a mission outreach, prices are intentionally kept low and affordable. Both thrift stores rely on the donation of clean, usable items to resell. Streetlight Kids offers a great selection of children’s clothing at prices from 59¢ to $1.25. There is also a great selection of kids books, as well as toys, games and lots of stuffed animals. Depending on donations, there can also be kid’s furniture, strollers and playpens.
The store opened its doors in November, just in time for Christmas. There was an official “Grand Opening” on May 28 to celebrate the installation of the store’s new sign and to be officially introduced to the City of Reedley. In addition to the usual ribbon cutting ceremony, grilled hot dogs, soft drinks and cookies were served to everyone who attended. According to Streetlight Board Member Ruth Laemmlen, the Reedley High School Key Club assisted in setting up the food booth and serving. About 150 people attended the event and enjoyed the hot dogs.
Streetlight Kids is overseen by manager Olga Ediger and Balbina Lopez, the cashier. Everything is attractively arranged, and the store is bright and cheerful. When I visited recently, a customer told me that she came in with $20.00 to spend on her two boys and was leaving with six bags of clothes and toys. I’d say that she got quite a few bargains!
With ‘Back To School’ just around the corner, Streetlight Kids is the answer to a budget-conscious mom’s prayer: good, usable clothes at a very reasonable price. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Donations are always accepted.
Thirty-four years ago, one man felt the need to reach out to needy local families and try to make a difference in their lives. Board member Ruth Laemmlen thinks John Miller would be very proud of Streetlight Kids. We know that every family who enters the store is blessed by his legacy of service to others in need.
Keep up with Streetlight and Streetlight kids on their Facebook page.