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Free shopping at Dish Depot for formerly homeless people

September 9, 2011 |  7:07 am

 Depot1

The Dish Depot is one of those win-wins: Lovers of Heath Ceramics dishes get the objects of their desire, and people who have moved from the streets into homes can shop at a free store.

The Skid Row Housing Trust will set up the Dish Depot on Saturday and open the store on Sept. 16, 23 and 30 to the residents of its 1,500 apartments, said Molly Rysman, the trust's director of external affairs. The stock for the Dish Depot comes from Heath shoppers who brought in their old dishes in exchange for a 25% discount on new Heath dishes during the summer, Rysman said.

Volunteers are needed to set up or staff the store on all three days of the Dish Depot, downtown on 6th Street near Maple Avenue.

Depot3It's the second year that Heath ran its Home Plate  campaign, which came about when store workers heard people say they'd love to buy new dishes but didn't want to throw their old ones away.

Last year, the Dish Depot had 4,000 pieces, Rysman said. Residents of Skid Row Housing Trust apartments can choose up to eight pieces, the limit set to make sure everyone gets a good selection.

"It just really makes a difference in terms of community integration to have a matching set of dishes," she said. The trust's residents "feel more comfortable inviting someone to dinner."

Skid Row Housing Trust develops and runs housing for homeless people in Los Angeles, and it provides services such as health care and job search assistance.

Anyone who wants to volunteer for the Dish Depot should contact the trust to schedule a time -- as little as an hour. People can register by calling (213) 683-0522, Ext. 139, or by going to the Skid Row volunteer page.

-- Mary MacVean

Photo: The 2010 Dish Depot. Credit: P. Strait / Skid Row Housing Trust

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