Cool Used Stuff makes Concord debut

Since forming 29 years ago, CVAN Battered Women's Program has provided hope, shelter and access to crisis services to nearly 21,000 battered women and their children.

Its 24-hour crisis hotline has answered more than 35,000 calls and recently received a record-breaking 200 calls in one month, said assistant director Rebecca Moffett.

In March 1983, when the hotline began, it serviced eight calls.

On Sept. 10 CVAN celebrated the grand opening of the new location of its charity thrift store, CVAN's Cool Used Stuff. The event also honored the nonprofit's 29th anniversary.

It's located in front of K mart on busy Concord Parkway North. Real estate professionals told agency leaders that 25,000 cars per day will pass the store.

The store is expected to generate at least $30,000 per year. That money will help fund a half-dozen CVAN programs, including support groups, a court advocate and a 15-person shelter.

Cool Used Stuff sells clothing for all ages, housewares, small furniture and books. Resources for battered women also are available on site.

Because of the store's new visibility, leaders expect awareness of CVAN to grow.

"I think what's phenomenal is that this store can be a public face for CVAN," said Moffett. "It's a way for the community to come to together and support CVAN. People can donate, shop and volunteer."

Some of the people who take calls on the agency's crisis have been around since CVAN formed. So have staff and volunteers such as executive director Mary Margaret Flynn.

"We've worked with close to 20,000 women and kids, and they would have been without options, without safety and shelter," said Flynn, one of the agency's founders.

"And everybody pulling together in this community has really made that happen. I think it's a real tribute to the community as a whole. It's really helped provide those ... basic services."

On how CVAN benefits the women who come to it for help, Flynn said, "I think what folks get is a sense of hope. They get a sense of their options and that people ... care."

The staff credits volunteers, donors and the community.

"The thing I'm most proud of is we've gotten where we have in the last 29 years," said Flynn. "Really, who's incredibly grateful are the women and kids, who can't say face-to-face how grateful they are. That's just why we all do it."

Carol Schmidt has lived in Concord for 11 years and has volunteered at CVAN since 2004. She said there is no doubt that CVAN works.

"It's such a worthwhile organization," she said, recalling a recent encounter with a woman who made a donation.

"When we got to her car, she looked at me and said, 'You know, I owe CVAN a lot because they helped me when I was in need. I just can't tell you how much it means to me.'

"She put her arms around me and hugged me and said, 'I just can't thank CVAN enough.' That was the first time it actually had been brought home so personally for me."

Moffett recalled a chance meeting after a presentation at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. A young woman approached Moffett because she remembered her from staying at CVAN's shelter as a child.

"It was wonderful to see her at college," said Moffett. "She said her mom was doing great, and things were going great with her, but shelter's part of her childhood. The amazing part about CVAN turning 29 is that you have generations of people that have been helped by CVAN."