Georgia Mom Opens Free Clothing Store for Kids in Need
In 2016, Linda Durrence experienced unspeakable tragedy when her eldest daughter died in a car crash at the age of 27. Six years later, the Georgia mom is turning the darkness of loss into a light helping others through Blossom, a boutique store providing free clothing to children in need.
The idea for Blossom came to Linda many years ago. After experiencing the loss of their daughter, the Durrences moved to Glennville, Georgia, and started attending a local church. The couple's two remaining daughters made friends with three sisters who were in foster care and living with another family who attended their church.
In 2018, the sisters were going to be separated and moved to other foster homes, prompting the Durrences to step in and help. They offered to take in the two younger girls while they waited to be reunited with their grandparents in Florida. The eldest sister had turned 18 and exited the foster system.
"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 told Fox News. "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."
After a few months, the girls were set to be reunited with their grandparents. But when the Durrences informed them of the move, they begged to stay. With their grandparents' blessing, the Durrences officially added the sisters to their family through adoption in May 2019.
Linda says long after the girls were settled in as new members of her family, she kept thinking back to that first day when they arrived at her door with so few possessions. She remembered how she and her husband went out the next day to buy the girls everything they needed. She then thought about families who may not have the ability to do the same.
"What about the families that can't go out and buy them what they need?" Linda said. "Just the bare minimum, the necessities."
Her answer to that question was Blossom, a boutique clothing store that runs entirely on donations and allows children in need to shop for free. Whether they're part of the foster care system or simply come from a family who has fallen on hard times and can't afford new clothing, Blossom is open to all.
The store officially opened last week and is now taking appointments for children, from infants to 12th grade, to come shop for clothes. The appointment system allows Linda to ensure she has the right clothing sizes and gives children the ability to have a private shopping experience without worrying that someone may see them.
Children are able to shop for seven sets of clothing and shoes each season but can shop more frequently if they experience a major change in size. The store also offers prom and pageant dresses for borrow.
Linda says she hopes that Blossom will serve as a blessing to children in need and help them blossom into happier humans just as her foster daughters did.
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"We watched them blossom and that's where the name came from," Linda said. "And what our hope is, is with Blossom, that it goes far beyond just kids coming to get clothes. We just want other foster parents to know and foster children to know that the journey can be beautiful if everybody just pitches in and does a little bit."