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By Eric Heinz

Family Assistance Ministries (FAM), a local housing assistance program and food pantry with locations in San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point, will open a thrift store in downtown San Clemente in the coming weeks.

Mary Perdue, the director of FAM, said volunteers have been helping with the renovation of the store as well as stocking it with clothing, furniture and other donated items.

The organization signed a lease in June after an extensive search for a location, Perdue said.

“We looked for four years around Dana Point and San Clemente, and this came up at the right location,” Perdue said.

The thrift store will be located at 540 and 542 (upstairs) N. El Camino Real.

The store is intended to be open seven days a week, but Perdue said that may change depending on the demand.

Perdue said members of the Kiwanis San Clemente and members of Pacific Coast Church have helped establish the store.

“We’re very excited to help the community, and the income from the store will help our clients and get people into shelters to find permanent housing,” Perdue said.

In addition to the thrift store, Perdue said FAM has helped 93 homeless people find permanent housing or other assistance programs this year, 33 of whom were children. The FAMily House, which launched in April, has helped 52 of those people find housing options.

Perdue said the goal of FAM is to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

Perdue said an opening date has not yet been finalized, but the thrift store is expected to open sometime in September. The store will be run by two employees and volunteers. People who want to volunteer at the store can send their resume to

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