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Pay It Forward: Sterling’s Caring Center

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In the center of Sterling-Rock Falls is the Caring Center.

Inside a recycled department store are rows upon rows of clothes, toys, and household items free for the taking.

It's all thanks to generous donations spearheaded by one woman.

For the past five years, Irene Nusbaum has coordinated the Caring Center as a one-stop shopping place for people in need.

And she gets a lot of help.

Throughout the store are volunteers who keep the Caring Center open on Mondays and Wednesdays so shoppers can gather 20-items that they can take back to their homes.

And whether it's shoes or jeans, it's all donated by people like Rowan Butts, who decided this is where he wanted to Pay It Forward.

"If they needed a little bump to get started again, if they were down about a job, they can go again," said Rowan.

"This gives them an extra step."

Rowan nominated Irene and the staff of "The Caring Center" to receive $300 from Ascentra Credit Union in our ongoing "Pay It Forward" campaign.

Rowan found The Caring Center after suffering a great loss: the unexpected death of his 41 year old son Garrett.     It is here where he donated Garrett's clothing and other possessions, hoping his son's legacy would carry on for others.

"He was always helping other people," Rowan says of his son.

"He'd even give the the shirt off his own back to help you."

And the Caring Center is helping a lot of people...
Almost 200-thousand items were distributed to more than 14-thousand customers who walked inside this downtown Sterling store last year alone.

"They haven't got the money to buy some of the things that they can use to operate their homes with because they've got to put gas in their cars and they gotta have food on their tables," says Irene Nusbaum, executive director.

And nothing goes to waste.

"She doesn't like landfills," says Rowan.   "She'd rather bring it here."

And this store recycles more than merchandise.     People like Irene say it gives them a way to give back to the public.

"I just like to be busy.  I like to have things to do."

And as Irene has told her volunteers, happiness is found in doing... not merely possessing.

If you know someone who gives back to their community, why not Pay It Forward?  Just click on this link to find our nomination form.