West Side Boutique reopened Wednesday, Aug. 12, after being shuttered for several months by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We did help 21 people today – with bedding, towels, shirts, pants and sneakers,” said Coordinator Nancy Robert.

She said she was very thankful for the donations of sneakers as well as Brannock shoe measuring tools to provide a proper fit – because “some people came in with their shoes very, very worn.”

For the time being, the boutique will be open every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for soup kitchen guests.

“We do temperature checks and provide face masks if they don’t have one,” Nancy noted. “We accommodate four guests at a time.”

Boutique volunteers
Coordinator Nancy Robert with student volunteers, from left, Yijia Xing, Richard Chen, Leon Zong and Grace Zhang.

Among the volunteers helping out were four students – Cornell University student Grace Zhang, New Hartford High School students Richard Chen and Leon Zong, and Notre Dame High School student Yijia (Cindy) Xing.

Yijia brought her artistic talent, drawing landscape and Walt Disney characters on the blackboard walls. She is an international student from China staying with Grace’s family.

Yijia (Cindy) Xing
Yijia (Cindy) Xing . Photos by R. Stronach.