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KD Sunday Spotlight: Poppin' Tags Free Store changing lives of people in need

KD Sunday Spotlight: Poppin' Tags helping those in need
KD Sunday Spotlight: Poppin' Tags helping those in need 04:04

WEST DEER (KDKA) - Community members can go shopping without their wallet at the Poppin' Tags Free Store in West Deer Township.

We've highlighted the store and the impact it's making in the community on KD Sunday Spotlight.

We know a place that offers some big deals. Everything is free at the Poppin' Tags Free Store in West Deer. Everyone is welcome to stop by the store and look around for something to take home.

Donations can be seen outside the store on Little Deer Creek Valley Road and there's even more inside, including clothes for women, men, kids, and babies. 

There are also toys, puzzles, books, food, and home goods. 

"Glasses, dishes, decor, bedding, curtains, table clothes, anything that you would need for your house," said Sonya Dembowski, the owner of Poppin' Tags Free Store.

Dembowski said she grew up in poverty.

"Growing up low income and understanding government cheese and hand me downs, stuff like that, just seeing people struggle is hard for me because I've been there," she said.

That's why she's making sure unwanted items are reused and become someone's treasure.

They have a lot of women's clothing. Picking out an outfit at the store can help someone get back on their feet.

"It's very humbling, but I love watching it, we just had a recent mom leave a domestic situation and she wasn't allowed to work so she came here for interview clothes and nailed the job so it's like that feeling of like atta girl," Dembowski said.

There are no income requirements to shop around. 

The store has around 20 volunteers; most of them started as customers. Dembowski said with the amount of donations they receive; more volunteers are needed.

"I am probably going to add 15 or 20 more just to kind of, it's just so the traffic flow is so heavy now, we can't keep up, we cannot keep up," said Dembowski.

She needs help organizing all the sections in the store and determining what they need and don't need.

"This is our women's clothing department, which hopefully fingers crossed we will have revamped and completely redone to be a little more efficient and add more to it.

Poppin;' Tags Free Store works with several organizations and some businesses to help people in different ways. 

"We work hand in hand with Allegheny Valley of Churches, the Hope Center, Crisis North, Roots of Faith... they help house the people, then we help build the house. We kind of try to provide everything that you would need to move in when you have nothing," Dembowski said.

The store does ask for monetary donations if a shopper can afford it. That money goes toward paying for the building and upgrades.

Right now, they need hygiene products, new make-up, and medical supplies. They always need children's items! Especially clothes for school-aged kids.

"This is probably one of our biggest needed sections too because unfortunately, we get a lot of moms with kids who are struggling," said Dembowski.

It's a store of hope - just throw what you need in a bag!

"It's just important that we give them the ability to move forward with their life without the stress of where is this going to come from next so they can worry about their paycheck, going to feed their kids, pay their bills or pay their rent, and we provide the rest for them, Dembowski said.

If you want to donate items to the Poppin' Tags Free Store, you're asked to check when the store is taking donations by looking for updates on the store's Facebook page. People can ask questions by sending a message on Facebook or send an email to the store.

Dembowski asks people who donate want items to not leave things in the rain, to not leave furniture, and to come back if the bin outside is full. 

They accept monetary donations of cash, checks, PayPal, or Venmo. Right now, the store needs people who can build shoe and clothing racks and they also need a new truck for the store.

The store is open Mondays and Wednesdays 10 to 4, Fridays 10 to 6 and Saturdays 10 to 2. Appointments can be made for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you would like to see an organization highlighted in KDKA'S Sunday Spotlight segment, send Jessica Guay an email at 

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