Sharing Center boutique, donation center opens its doors


Published:

Sharing Center store manager Jo Batchelor, left, and president/CEO David Brubaker sort through donated items at the Sharing Center's Suntree location in the Boardwalk Plaza at 7720 N. Wickham Road.

Wendy Scheuring

The Sharing Center of Central Brevard has made its way to Suntree. Its newest facility, an upscale boutique and donation center, is located in the Boardwalk Plaza at 7720 N. Wickham Road, Suite 103.

“The Sharing Center is about the generosity of others,” President/CEO David Brubaker said. “This year, we are celebrating our 40th year as a nonprofit, community-based organization. With the growth of the Suntree-Viera area, we wanted to provide an opportunity for the residents to participate. There is an opportunity for everyone to learn about our mission and to support us through volunteering and donations.

“The emphasis of this location is also to know the struggles of the many people within Brevard County that come to us every day. We are the only one in central Brevard that has a consistent feeding site.” Brubaker said. “We feed 150 to 200 people daily. We fed more than 15,000 people requesting emergency food, and we distributed more than 500,000 pounds of food last year.”

“We also provide financial assistance with rent, mortgage and utility payments. When it gets below 45 degrees, we convert our kitchen at the Cocoa location into a cold night shelter.”

The nonprofit’s brochure states that less than 6 percent served are homeless, and that 40 percent are children.

The center seeks donations of clothing, household goods, furniture and non-perishable food, with the exception of outdated electronic equipment.

The Suntree location also is looking for volunteers to help sort items, go through clothing and research the value of donations before putting them on shelves.

Part of the Sharing Center’s outreach also includes establishing partnerships with area businesses.

“My goal is to see what businesses are around, and to get to know them and let them know we are here,” said Heather Richards, a vice president of resource development. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we can grow.”

For the past year, establishing this center has been a grass-roots effort.

“I set it up from the ground down,” said store manager Jo Batchelor. I built the dressing rooms, stained the doors myself, hung the mirrors. Macy’s donated all of the racks and all of the pictures and the mannequins in the front window.

“Our neighbor said from the outside it looks like a dress shop.”

To obtain food or emergency services (only at the Cocoa location at 113 Aurora St.), proof of residence in central Brevard and a Social Security card is required.

“Our client assistance program includes emergency food, a health and hygiene kit, clothing, household goods, beddings, furniture and shoes,” Brubaker said.

The Suntree boutique hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 321-426-3334.

To arrange for a pickup of donations, call the main office at 321-631-0306.

The Suntree grand opening, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, will take place through the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce later this month.

For information, go to sharingcenter.org or @SharingBrevard on Facebook