Arlington's Helping Hands needs new home

Helping Hands President Roland Kirby helps straighten the store’s shelves. - Kirk Boxleitner
Helping Hands President Roland Kirby helps straighten the store’s shelves.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Helping Hands could use a helping hand of its own.

The Arlington thrift store that donates its proceeds back to the community is looking for a new home as the city of Arlington plans to reclaim the property used by both Helping Hands and the Arlington Food Bank for public works offices and improvements to Haller Park.

“The city needs to get the park’s existing restroom facility onto higher ground, as the current facility is flooded and damaged virtually every time we have a flood event on the Stillaguamish River,” Arlington Assistant City Administrator Kristin Banfield said.

While the Arlington Food Bank already has new property lined up at the Arlington Airport, the staff of Helping Hands is still searching for about 1,000 square feet of rent-free space that they can move into once the new Food Bank facility is constructed and ready for occupancy.

“We can pay for our utilities, but if we have to pay rent, we won’t have any money left to give away,” said Lana Lasley, treasurer and store manager for Helping Hands.

Lasley estimated that the store serves an average of 300 customers a week and donates close to $18,000 a year to community groups including the Food Bank, the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, Support 46, Cocoon House and Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County

“These programs need money to run,” said Lasley, who added that the store also funds scholarships for Arlington students.

According to Banfield, the city notified Helping Hands in September of last year that they might need to move, and has spoken with the Arlington Food Bank about finding space for the store in the Food Bank’s new facility.

“City staff are providing Helping Hands with any contacts that we come across that may be able to help them find a new space in Arlington,” Banfield said.

“If we don’t get a new place, we’re just gonna be done,” Lasley said.

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