Saturday, May 28, 2022

Holding Hands Fundraising $20,000 to Expand

Holding Hands Resale Shop is well into its second year and Donna Howard is ready to expand the store.

Donna Howard is the founder and owner of the thrift shop, located on West Oxford Loop, that employs disabled people so they may enjoy working. Howard created this safe and understanding work environment for her employees out of a need she recognized in her daughter, Cassie Howard’s trying journey in having a job with a diagnosis of chronic paranoid schizophrenia since 15 years old.

Holding Hands is a treasure hunt for thrift shoppers.
Holding Hands is a treasure hunt for thrift shoppers.

The store is filled to brim with clothes, furniture and household items, all donated. When Howard first opened the store in January 2013 many Oxonians helped out the store by the word of mouth and from her speaking at civic clubs and churches to help. With this charity, the employees completed over four thousand hours earning a combined $45,000 plus in salaries paid for by the store. With popularity of thrift shopping as Oxonians find great additions to personalize their homes the store can get by.

“The people have been so generous to us,” said Howard. “They brought so much to this store.”

This generosity has made it possible for her to hire people from the rehabilitation center along with the disabled employees.

Kristen Cauley is a recovering alcoholic who has been at Oxford Centre near Etta. She has been there for five months and recently started working at Holding Hands.

“I love it,” Cauley said. “It’s just a great thing. In recovery it’s all about giving back and helping others.”

Kristen Cauley checks on a large furniture collection.
Kristen Cauley checks on a large furniture collection.

For those who don’t have clothes or furniture to give to the store can still make a difference by donating to the store so Howard may expand the store to accommodate more, and hopefully add an office space.

When Howard met me for the interview she stood outside in the garage where furniture and books were sorted out into separate columns of pricing and donations. She said with a soft laugh that that area was her office space for now.

“We need donations now, monetary, clothes and house hold goods,” said Howard. “The furniture sells quickly here. They’re our big-ticket items. We sold 40 stoves and refrigerators within two months.”

People can donate money to the store via its website for its expansion and becoming self-sufficient. The fundraising goal for its expansion is $20,000.

This expansion is made possible through a promise by the building’s owner to Howard when she first opened the shop two years ago. The store does not need big-screen televisions or books donated, and if the store does receive them they will be donated.

Howard is thankful for the store’s continued success. “God just tells me what to do,” Howard said.

Tune in to special deals at Holding Hands by visiting its Facebook.

Callie Daniels is a staff reporter for She can be reached at