Path of Grace Recovery Program Opens Third Thrift Store

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Path of Grace Bldg

By Ed Offley

A Florida Panhandle recovery program for women has reached a major milestone with the transformation of a former doctors’ office building in Panama City to its third thrift store.

The new Path of Grace Thrift Store is an 11,000-square-foot retail outlet featuring clothing, furniture and household goods, said store manager Brandee Anderson. It is located at 509 East 23rd Street, Panama City in the Home Depot shopping center. The store had a quiet launch last fall and is now fully operational.

Path of Grace BldgThe outlet sells products donated by supporters of the program, and its staff are women going through the twenty-four-month recovery program, she said.

The mission of Path of Grace is simple, Anderson explained: “This program is to restore mothers with their children, and to help them get back on their feet.”

Founded fifteen years ago as a faith-based organization to assist women trapped in alcoholism and drug abuse, Path of Grace has expanded significantly since then. The Panama City outlet is the third run by the organization, which also has two thrift stores in Miramar Beach at 10916 and 10962 U.S. 98.

The recovery program itself is based in several Panhandle communities. Women accepted into the program live in three residential homes in Bonifay. A parallel residential program called Crown of Beauty opened there last year.

 

Those who successfully finish that phase of the program are eligible to stay in one of eight transition housing homes at Serenity Village located in Santa Rosa Beach.

“These 850-square-foot homes have been built to help single graduate mothers and children reunite, as well to help graduates who need a longer stay in a drug-free, protected environment,” said Eddie Mansfield, managing director of Path of Grace.

Anderson said there currently are fifty-three women going through the recovery program, with another ten graduates living at Serenity Village.

Mansfield leads a staff of seven plus two therapists who guide the participants through their recovery.

While initially organized to serve Florida Panhandle residents – including Bay and Walton Counties – Path of Grace is open to women from anywhere if their situation matches the program services, Anderson said. “We’ve even had a person from Philadelphia go through,” she said. Residents have ranged in age from eighteen (the minimum) to sixty.

 

Some participants have been referred to the program by the courts, while others have contacted Path of Grace directly seeking admission after learning about it from friends or family members, Anderson said.

All participants work at one of the Thrift Stores. Although they are not in salaried jobs, the residents receive monetary stipends to cover personal expenses. And upon successful completion, each graduate receives an $8,100 check to begin the next phase of their life, she said.

Mansfield said he and his co-workers have been amazed at the program’s success thus far. “It’s so beautiful and rewarding to witness women going from down and out, in the gutter, with no self-esteem, to victorious and successful in every aspect of their lives,” he said.

In addition to welcoming donations of furniture, clothing and household goods, Path of Grace as a nonprofit under IRS Section 501(c)3, welcomes direct financial donations, Anderson said. The store is also willing to pick up bulky or heavy objects like furniture at the donor’s residence. Call (850) 654-8500 for furniture pickup.

For further information about the Path of Grace recovery program, or to make contributions to the program, contact Managing Director Eddie Mansfield at (850) 974-4573 or email recoverypathofgrace@gmail.com Reach Assistant Managing Director Brandee Anderson at (850) 598-5542 or email brandee.pathofgrace@gmail.com.