A CHARITY founded by a Boston woman – with branches around the world – is to open its first shop in the town.
Love Shack (Love for Sick, Homeless and Courageous Kids) has two shops in Kenya and one in Ireland. The Boston shop has now opened in Shodfriars Hall, in South Street.
Founder Karen Ward, who set up the charity in 2003, spent 10 years in the country, sharing her home with 20 young orphans.
Two of those years were spent living in a Nairobi slum in a dedicated move to understand the poverty and hardship other people experience.
“The conditions there are absolutely shocking and show just how much we take for granted here,” she said.
“They don’t even have money for medicine or food and only have a limited water supply once a week.”
The charity sends Kenyan children to school, giving them the chance to realise their ambitions. Its motto is ‘educating the hearts and minds of children here and overseas’.
“We currently support 200 children there and have put 30 through universities in Kenya,” Karen said.
“While 80 per cent of money raised through the charity shop will go to the children in Kenya, 20 per cent will be reserved for local causes nominated by our customers.
“In the UK and Ireland we support disadvantaged children experiencing social exclusion.”
The shop will be staffed by volunteers, ensuring all profits reach the children for whom they are intended.
She added: “The aim I always had was to solve the issue that causes children problems, before they become problems.”
Karen’s dedication to helping others goes back decades.
In 1979 she was featured in the Standard as a schoolgirl who was giving up her spare time to help others by working at the town’s Oxfam shop.
l To volunteer or donate items for sale contact Karen on 07534 821230.