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'People just need hope.' Free store opens inside Lansing Mall

Posted at 5:06 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 14:08:28-05

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Everyone loves deals during the holiday season, but there's a new store in the Lansing Mall with deals that are priceless.

If you're in the Lansing Mall and see a small store with a lit tree in the window and a sign that says, "come in, we're open," you've made it to the Freetail Store.

"Every item in the store is tagged with a dignity tag, which is just like a regular shopping experience. It's a tag on the on their clothing, it gives you a message of hope," said Mike Karl, Founder of Cardboard Prophets.

The store will be giving out all sorts of items.

"We have food, personal care items, dog food, baby formula diapers, and we're just giving it out for free," Karl said.

The Freetail store was created by an organization called Cardboard Prophets, which helps homeless people and others who need support.

"People just need hope, especially around the holidays, we need to be able to relate to their their situation, sympathize and make a difference, because everybody's struggling right now. And we have to give that opportunity for love to grow," he said.

Karl knows what it's like to be homeless, so being able to open a free store means a lot to him.

"We had a man that's 50-years-old, he had been living on the streets, finally in permanent housing, never been to the mall before. But he's able to come in and experience what the mall really is, and get items that he needed," Karl smiled, recalling a moment he was able to help a customer.

The store is run by volunteers who share the same passion as Mike. Take for instance Ellen Wheeler, she's at the store everyday.

"People come in and they say thank you for what you do, but really, it is its own reward. It's so heartwarming and touching," Wheeler said.

If you wish to donate, Mike asks that you don't leave the clothes by the door, go to the front counter so the items can be processed. He also said the greatest need right now is diapers.

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Asya Lawrence

1:07 PM, Jun 15, 2022

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