“The police just called because they found our truck, undamaged except they took the catalytic converter. They have the keys.”
That is the central message of a text I received one Sunday from Lisa Olson, our VP of Retail at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. It was really good news.
In the 1980s, the great people who led the Ranch decided it would be smart to diversify income streams so we could always continue to provide the best services to kids and families who need help. Dakota Boys and Girls Thrift Stores were born. They were designed to give people who couldn't donate cash a way to support our kids. Now, thousands of people each year donate their clothes, toys, tools, and household goods at one of our stores, and thousands find what they need from our gently used inventory. More recently, we starting selling items online in e-commerce “stores,” which really helped during the shut downs of the pandemic.
In addition to providing employment, and participating with over a dozen employment support programs, the Thrift Stores sometimes provide a first work experience for Ranch children as they heal out of treatment. The Ranch stores also provide free clothing and needed household items for those in need. Often, police visit our stores asking for shoes or boots for the homeless folks they encounter.
We are very proud of the impact the stores make for the Ranch and our communities, and we keep an awful lot of stuff out of landfills.
Amazingly, sometimes our stores are the target for thieves. For some, it is a crime of opportunity—stealing a clothing item or shoes or other small items while they are in the store. We take all the regular retail precautions to stop the inventory “shrinkage,” as it is called. We stop all we can, and pray for the people we aren't able to stop.
Most amazingly, people break in when we are closed and steal used items that have been donated. It takes a lot of planning and energy to be a good thief. Imagine if that energy was channeled in some type of legitimate work!
Yes, we have security cameras (which can’t see through ski masks). Yes, we have alarm systems (don’t get me started). Yes, everything is locked tight (which doesn’t stop a crowbar or Sawzall). Yes, we have safes for the cash (which have been very secure, and we keep very little cash on site).
This time, in addition to costume jewelry, used electronics, and a couple of our store computers, the thief stole an old box truck we use to move items back and forth to our warehouse for processing. (The truck was locked, but he found the keys while in the store.) That was gut-wrenching. The trucks are hard to source. We buy them used and then drive them forever.
But on Sunday, the truck was found. He took the catalytic converter (I understand they contain a lot of precious metals and are easy to “fence”), but we got the truck.
Today, we will again be grateful for all the good people who donate to and shop in our stores. And, we will pray the thief finds and becomes his best self. God does work miracles.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
If you are a Thrivent Financial member, you may have Thrivent Choice Dollars® available to direct. Your Choice Dollars® can be directed to multiple organizations each year. Please consider choosing Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch as one place you direct your Choice Dollars®. All Thrivent Choice Dollars® are used to fund our Spiritual Life Program, giving our children the opportunity to grow in their faith and learn about their loving Heavenly Father. To direct your Choice Dollars® to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, go to Thrivent.com/thriventchoice. You can also direct your Choice Dollars® over the phone by calling 1-800-847-4836, and say "Thrivent Choice," after the prompt. The deadline is MARCH 31st, so direct your Choice Dollars® today!
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