Lillian’s Free Shop in Lansing brings joy to the community

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—The holidays are one of the busiest shopping times of the year, but for some people, it can be difficult to afford presents for loved ones.

The Lansing Mall has a shop called Lillian’s which helps people who are struggling by providing hygiene products, electronics, clothing, households, and toy items completely free to the community.

Against All Odds is a nonprofit that serves the homeless and supports cancer survivors in the local area. This nonprofit’s owner, Shirley Carter-Powell, opened the store Lillian’s and named it after her mother.

Powell encourages shoppers from the entire area who are in need to make an appointment to visit her shop

“When the pandemic hit the need grew bigger and I started noticing that everyone is affected by this, and how many families were losing their homes,” Powell said.

“It’s kind of hard to get the things that I need,” Sylvia Boyd, a Lansing resident said.

Boyd suffers from epilepsy which makes simple tasks difficult. Boyd’s disability makes it especially hard for her to go shopping in person. That’s why a Google search for the store “Lillian’s” changed her life. Boyd called the store’s owner, and the two instantly hit it off.

Boyd says they interacted by sharing life struggles. Powell is a two-time breast cancer survivor, has suffered homelessness and even struggled with a drug problem in the past.

Powell says Lillian’s lets her help someone else who is suffering similar struggles.

“I have taken my life experience,” Powell said, “I took the lemons that I had and made into lemonade and I knew that I had to give back.”

Each item in the store comes from donations and a partnership with Walmart and Cato Fashions in Flint, and what they get from the public. Powell says she wants people to realize someone else cares.

“Somebody else does understand and they’re here to help,” Powell said.

Lillian’s will remain open past the holidays so people in the Lansing area have a place to go when they’re in need.

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