We are Onslow: Jennifer-Jade Morton
Daily News - 8/21/2017
Aug. 21--I would love the community to know the story behind the store (Pennies for Felicity). I have an autistic grandson named Jaden. I have had him since day one. I cut the umbilical cord. I held him first. He is named after me. He's my baby. He was born ten and a half weeks early, at three pounds one ounce. Obviously, that explains his medical needs. One of the main things is that he has absolutely positively no concept of safety. I have bad knees. I can't chase him. I am not getting any younger. So that is why we got Felicity (our service dog). Long story short we started a Go Fund, because service animals are so expensive. The Go Fund was not taking off very well. People are afraid of it for whatever reason, even though it is extremely user-friendly, and safe.
A friend's mother passed away, and she gave me tubs and tubs of clothing, so we had a yard sale, and whatever money we raised went to the Go Fund for Jaden's dog. So, people were in my yard, buying all of these clothes, and they could tell that they weren't mine. They would ask where I got them from, I would tell them, and they would go back home and bring back more stuff. So, you are looking at what started out as a yard sale, last May. In July and August, I started renting out storage units, because I was taking more in than I could manage on a regular basis. In January, we opened up the store front. I have two 40-foot containers full. I have the best problem in the world. I can't keep up with all of the donations.
The main concept is there, helping service animals. With it being pennies, we aren't going to be able to pay off everyone's dog. We aren't that organization. We are too new, too young, but there is no reason why we can't give a lump sum here and there. I would love to open one of these up in every town, and help lots and lots of dogs, because there is no reason for it, for it to cost the money it does. It's Pennies for Felicity because I sell things at yard sale prices. Felicity is paid for, so now we are accepting applications to help other dogs in the near future. The board meets four times a year, and we pay out maybe twice a year. I think it is going to be great. I know of only one other organization that does nothing but help pay for the training of service animals. There is a program a program out of Texas, called Train a Dog, Save a Warrior, but they also help civilians, because they need help too.
Initially I didn't intend the store to be a service to the community, but we do help. As you can see we have more clothes than ten people would need. I am not going to let a child go to school with just one outfit. If the mother can only afford one, I make sure they leave the store with four. It's more than a thrift store. People volunteer here with their kids. There is usually a crockpot on the counter. Kids are running around the store and in the backyard. They sit on the chairs. Sometimes people sit here for hours. Even though we just opened since January, we are literally in the black. There are not a lot of places that can say that. I am the first paid employee, finally, but I only get paid for ten hours a week. The rest of the time I volunteer, and I am usually here 40-60 hours a week. And it is all because of that little boy. He means everything to me. He is now six-years old. We have had him since day one, and our whole world revolves around him, getting him to the different appointments he needs, and just helping him become a functional adult in the society. And that is where Felicity comes in. She gives him encouragement. She calms him, even when I can't. She is also a seizure alert dog. He was having seizures, but a month before we got Felicity he stopped having them and hasn't had one since, thank you Lord. That is going on about 18 months now. She is worth her weight in gold.
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