Helping Hands Ministries International has been serving locally and globally since 1992. Through three thrift stores in Western Washington, Helping Hands strives to help under-served people locally, in Peru, and worldwide. Their goal is to provide opportunities and services for those in need so they can be self-sustaining, be empowered and be hopeful for their future.
The Bothell store, located on Bothell Everett Highway, was the first established store of the franchise.
Run by a team of volunteers and a small staff, the store works to serve its local community as well as communities across the globe.
Executive director Shannon Field said being involved with the organization is part of her and her family’s DNA, as it was her mother and father-in-law who founded the nonprofit as missionaries in Peru.
“My second date with [my husband] was the opening of the thrift store when I was 16, so it’s kind of like part of our DNA now,” Field said. “We’ve been active in it since.”
Helping Hands Ministries International works to provide self-sustaining resources to people in Peru. Through a “community center model,” Peruvians are able to receive clean water, skill set education for women, preschool education for children and social services.
“By just giving these people some of life’s basic necessities such as clean water, to giving them opportunities for education, [it] can really change their lives,” she said.
For Field, being able to see the Peruvian children grow and thrive in education has been one of the most rewarding aspects in leading Helping Hands.
“We have one girl who’s now in high school and is on the path to going to medical school. That is really exciting. I don’t think it really gets much better than that,” she said.
While all the proceeds from the three Helping Hands thrift stores go to the needs in Peru, the Bothell thrift store also provides benefits to the local community.
“We give away about $100,000 a year of product to the community,” Field said.
The Bothell location gives out gift cards that are then distributed by the Bothell Fire Department, Northshore School District, food banks and local churches.
Other local nonprofits, such as Shower to the People — which provides mobile showers to the homeless — hand out gift cards for the store to people in need of clean clothes.
“Shower to the People come around twice a week to fill up on clean t-shirts, underwear and socks and gives them to the homeless,” Field said. “Our motto is, ‘We’ll give it away before we sell it.’ So, anyone in need can just come and ask.”
Field said she believes the success of Helping Hands stems from the fact that people trust the organization.
“They trust us that we’re doing what we say we’re doing,” she said. “Everything we do is to serve others and even the planet, as we recycle and reuse almost every single thing.”
Field hopes Helping Hands continues to grow and serve the local community and to those in Peru.
“Our goal is to always do right by the people we’re helping and the people who support us, and I think that’s going to help us keep going,” she said.