The Salvation Army works in many ways in Southeast Michigan.
More than 80 years ago, the Adult Rehabilitation Center was established in Detroit, offering rehabilitation services and training to help hundreds of men and women who come through their program.
Separate from the bell ringing campaign that supports other great Salvation Army work, the ARC is completed self-funded through 34 thrift stores in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Livingston and Washtenaw counties.
Feeding those 34 stores are eight warehouses.
All of the facilities are under the watchful eye of Jacqulynn Idzior, director of operations for The Salvation Army Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Center.
She also oversees operation of the two ARC facilities, the mens building with 300 beds in downtown Detroit and the womens facility with 80 beds in Romulus.
"Donation-wise, this is a tough time of year and this winter weather hasn't helped," said Idzior, a University of Oklahoma alum who lives in Clinton Township with her husband, Bob, and children.
"When the economy got bad, we felt that. Donations went down and have stayed down, so we're looking forward to spring."
The thrift stores offer a variety of clothing and household items, including gently used clothing for men, women and children of all ages and sizes. They also offer housewares "from skillets to candle holders, seasonal products, small appliances, sports equipment, furniture, shoes and accessories and some jewelry and collectibles," Idzior said.
"We try to test everything and make sure it works. We don't sell items that are broken, ripped or stained."
Area residents are invited to donate lightly used clothing and housewares to the store at 31015 Harper, near 13 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores.
"It's a really good store and people give us some wonderful items," Idzior said. "The store is 30,000 square feet. We moved to a larger store and we want to make sure everybody knows we're there."
The St. Clair Shores store, along with the others in the metro area, has a drop-off spot marked at each building. An employee will help unload the items and a receipt will be given for tax purposes.
Donations are taken 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
If a donor has a lot of items, Idzior said they may call The Salvation Army ARC facility at (313) 965-7760 to arrange for a pick-up of items. Donors may also visit satruck.org to schedule a pick-up online.
"We'll be happy to come get it," she said. "We appreciate all donations."
Idzior said appliance donations are common when someone remodels their kitchen. Businesses are also welcome to make donations, which are arranged by calling Bob Idzior at (313) 220-0436.
Idzior said the stores fund more than 80 percent of the Christian-based ARC program, which allows men and women to be part of a self-help program that renews the body, regenerates the spirit and rehabilitates the mind.
It's a 6-month volunteer program where attendees obtain counseling, including substance abuse counseling, go to classes and work in one of the stores, warehouses or other facilities.
"It helps give them skills and confidence to head out and succeed," Idzior said. "It's completely free for them and we receive no government money. We rely on donations and what we make with our stores."
Idzior, who has been with The Salvation Army for 11 years, 4 1/2 as director of operations, said her job is rewarding every day.
"I get out to the stores and visit with the managers and employees," she said. "There's a lot of positive. I love to see the spark in people. People that come through this program are struggling. I've watched people grow and blossom and see the spark. It's the absolute most rewarding part of my job."
Along with store donations, monetary donations are welcome, designated to The Salvation Army ARC. Checks with that designation may be sent to Southeast Michigan ARC, 1627 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48216.
Idzior said they are always looking for good people, including truck drivers, diesel and auto mechanics and other employees.
Volunteers are welcome in the stores. An application process starts by calling (313) 965-7760.
More information is available at salarmythrift.com.