In 2007, there were a lot of changes happening for Fresh Start. We moved into our new home in Havelock. The move to the larger facility allowed for many additions. Program occupancy increased from 16 women to 24 participants at a time. Those participants also gained much more communal living space. The program grew as well, offering more support and a more structured and holistic case management program. The move also provided a new opportunity for a fundraiser. The Board of Directors decided to dedicate one room of the new building for a small thrift shop. Cindy Piester, who was on the board at the time, agreed to help get it started. Long-time Fresh Start volunteer Karen Lenzen joined her, and The Daisy was born.
The name came from the Fresh Start logo, which features a Daisy. In the beginning, the shop was open just 2 hours, and sales were low. Slowly, word spread about the little shop in Havelock with the nice volunteers and great deals. They recruited more volunteers, which allowed it to be open more hours. The Daisy is now open 16 hours a week. Sales grew, going from maybe $50 a week to an average of $800. To date, The Daisy has raised over $535,000 for Fresh Start!
The efforts of The Daisy ladies extend beyond the shop; they have an impact on many other aspects of the program. They are a shining example of what a dedicated and strong group of women can accomplish, and of how you can impact lives in unexpected ways. Fifteen years later, Cindy and Karen still manage the shop and everything that it entails. The crew of "Daisy ladies" has grown; there is now a management group of 8, plus another 30 or so volunteers who assist with the shop. From all of us at Fresh Start, thank you "Daisy ladies" for all you have given to Fresh Start.
- Monica Zinke, Executive Director