In the little town of Lake Wilson, MN, is the Lake Wilson Clothing Center, "The Boutique," as it is affectionately known to the 320 townspeople.
This small community is located in what could be considered the middle of nowhere. The Boutique, run completely by 10 RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers, is the only inexpensive source of clothing in the area. The average price of a piece of clothing runs about fifty cents. Individuals come from a radius of about two hours away to get in on the good deals. The area is mostly farmland, and as many reports have shown, small farmers are struggling to survive. Many individuals have voiced that without this center they could not afford to clothe their families. In addition, the center provides free clothing to disaster stricken families.
Every week, at least two pick-up truckloads of clothing are brought in to the store. So that nothing is wasted, all items not sold are sent to the Goodwill at the end of a specified time.
The giving does not end with the distribution of dirt-cheap clothing. Every year, the board decides where the profits of the boutique will go. Last year, the center brought in more than $3,500. Of that, approximately $1,300 pays for expenses. They do not pay rent; their space was purchased over 20 years ago for one dollar. The remaining $2,200 was distributed to 21 local organizations. Some of the organizations benefiting from the disbursements included First Responders (EMTs), a crisis center and the local food shelf.