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Hope Services, a San Jose-based organization providing services to children with developmental disabilities and their families, donated more than $56,000 to Ukrainian organizations providing help to those with disabilities and mental health needs during the country’s war with Russia.

The organization also fundraises for their services through HopeTHRIFT, their retail outlet with locations in San Jose, Fremont and Watsonville.

The Ukrainian aid funding came from Hope Services donating 25 percent of sales at their thrift stores during Tuesdays and Wednesdays from April 13 to July 1 to on-the-ground organizations in Ukraine.

With more than $56,000 raised, the funds will be equally divided and dispersed to Save the Children, which provides humanitarian aid, and Humanity & Inclusion, which promotes help and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Helping others is good for business

As the fundraising campaign launched, the community responded quickly, with Hope Services president and chief executive officer Chip Huggins saying that business grew.

“It was a win-win: we got people into the stores and also helped spread the word about the work we do right here in our own community,” Shawn Bailey, the retail district manager for HopeTHRIFT, said in a news release.

Huggins was thrilled to see the community responding so positively to the fundraising campaign.

“It tells you about our community. It tells you about the culture and the customers that we have,” Huggins said. “They are not only buying thrift items from us, but they also support our mission.”

Huggins was also credited with coming up with the fundraiser after watching news of the war in Ukraine and feeling compelled to help those most vulnerable.

“It tells you about our community. It tells you about the culture and the customers that we have. They are not only buying thrift items from us, but they also support our mission.”

Chip Huggins, Hope Services CEO

“In any conflict, those with disabilities and mental health needs face a disproportionate risk of abandonment and violence,” Huggins said. “Watching the events unfold in Ukraine, we felt compelled to act and provide support however possible.”

Cathy Bouchard, the specialty director for Hope Services, was charged with interviewing and selecting the Ukrainian organizations that the fundraiser would benefit.

“It was important to partner with organizations whose missions match ours: serving children and individuals with intellectual disabilities and those with mental health needs,” Bouchard said. “We decided to work with two organizations, one large and one small. We thought it would be important to utilize the power of a large organization as well as access the nimbleness and flexibility of a smaller group.”

Providing the essentials

Save the Children has been providing humanitarian aid internationally for more than a century. For the war in Ukraine, the organization has been providing essentials including food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash.

“The funds raised will enable us to distribute critical emergency supplies and protect children from harm in Ukraine and neighboring countries,” said Dori Ives, managing director of individual philanthropy for Save the Children.

Humanity & Inclusion has received praise for their work in Ukraine, aiding those with disabilities in accessing services and resources. The organization shares a similar mission to Hope Services: “to see all persons with disabilities and mental health needs supported and protected,” the San Jose organization said.

Hope Services received $285,000 in grants from Santa Clara County to focus on expanding their services, including providing transportation and laptops for greater accessibility for their clients.

County supervisors Joe Simitian, Cindy Chavez and Otto Lee were among those who expressed their support of the organization, which has been operating for more than 70 years.

“Hope Services is literally a world-class operation whether lifting up and equipping people living in the Silicon Valley, or in Ukraine with everything they need to live productive lives,” Chavez said. “Hope Services certainly delivers on its promise to make the world a better place.”