SUDBURY -- At the beginning of June, the store Homeless of Champions opened its doors, offering gently used clothing to the homeless, as well as shoes and personal hygiene products.

Organizers say the temporary clothing store was only supposed to be open for four weeks, but with the large demand, the doors were kept open longer than expected.

“The main thing was to open up, let the homeless get some clothes, and here we are 15 weeks later,” said Bob Johnston, of Tomorrow’s Hope. “The average would probably be about 50 a day. There were days that we were over a hundred. When Bipoed came in with their shoes and donated probably around $8,000 worth of shoes. There were line ups galore looking for those new shoes. So there was definitely a need.”

One of the clients says he stopped by the store on a weekly basis.

“I purchased a pair of Saucony’s, they are running shoes and they have been the best shoes I’ve ever had in the longest time,” said D.J. Kmisberg. “I saw them, it was a size 12, which was my size and I was in a great mood for the rest of the day.”

Gotten to know them

Those involved with the store said over the past few months, they have not only helped people out but also really got to know some of them on a personal level.

“We’ve been out to their forts -- some actually build these forts,” said Ginette Grandmaison, supervisor of Homeless of Champions. “He was able to gather skids and everything else to be able to protect himself from the sun and the heavy rains this summer, so we had helped him out with pots and cups. There are some who don’t want nothing. It’s just to come in and have someone acknowledge them.”

With school just around the corner, people running the store decided to also collect school supplies for families in need.

“We do have a lot of unfortunate families that are out there, so if there’s anybody that is willing to donate school supplies, or backpacks, we are going to be on Monday from 4-6 p.m. at the Sudbury Food Bank collecting donations at that time,” said Carrie Wasylyk, of Tomorrow’s Hope.

From Sept. 3-5, the arena will be open to families in need who will have the opportunity to collect school supplies and children’s clothing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The store inside the arena will be closed for good as of Sept. 5.