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Give Care Share: Almost Home



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Story by Emily Robertson

To say that Spence Sheldon is all about the local community would be a huge understatement and now with a new nonprofit venture, he hopes to meet the needs of as many people as possible. The local entrepreneur, who owns the area Donatos franchises, was born and raised in Bowling Green.

“I grew up here and this is home,” Sheldon says. “I am passionate about this city, because at 24 I opened up my first business and this town gave me a shot. I swore to myself after a couple of years, I would prove them right and I wouldn’t stop until I felt like I had done everything I could to give it back ten fold. I owe these people and this town, it’s as simple as that.”

So in 2020, Sheldon and his friend and partner, Nick Lawson, created Almost Home Clothing, an apparel company where the funds would feed directly into the non-profit AH Foundation.

“Our first design simply came off a website where we hired a graphic designer and started printing shirts,” Sheldon says. “We felt like we were more concerned about the 'why’ we were doing what we were doing, rather than the ‘what’ we were doing, which worked in the beginning.”

Now, Almost Home has their own local graphic designer, Chandler Asbury, who created a new AH emblem and they are looking to offer all kinds of products including hats, backpacks, shorts, t-shirts and more.

With the proceeds from the sales of products, Sheldon and Lawson hoped to help anyone and everyone they could, but honed in their efforts on a population that is often forgotten about, individuals coming out of incarceration.

“We did our research and found that there were too many barriers to reenter society,” Sheldon says. “When that is the case, the individual typically returns to the space that got them there to begin with. Nick and I knew we could find them employment with Donatos and if we could sell enough shirts, we could clothe and house them as well, so that’s the goal.

“The pandemic put a lot of the work of Almost Home on hold, Sheldon says. Gaining entry into jails was difficult, clothing orders were on back order because of warehouses being shut down and volunteers didn’t feel safe meeting individuals in the streets or in jail due to health concerns of COVID-19. “But through the whole pandemic, Nick and I kept the truck moving the best way we could,” Sheldon says. “Direction, not speed is what we say to ourselves about this particular venture. Go slow, do it right and growth will come.”

Currently, Sheldon and Lawson, as well as their significant others, are the only people directly involved in Almost Home and they say the way to help their current efforts is simple.

“More than anything, the best way to help us right now is buy the clothes and coffee mugs,” Sheldon says. “That’ll help us the most. When the time comes where we need manpower, best believe you will be hearing from us, but today, buy a shirt, hoodie, coffee mug or sticker.”

The more money Almost Home can raise through purchases, the more people they can help, since through their work at Donatos, they meet lots of individuals who are in need.

“We have partnered with Crossland Community Church, Curbside Ministries and local schools, but our favorite partner most of the time is the doors of Donatos Pizza, where the hurt, confused and lost seem to wander in,” Sheldon says. “We got it good, we don’t have to go find people, they come to us. We have pizza!”

For more information about Almost Home, go to https://almosthomeclothing.com/, on Instagram @AlmostHomeClothing and Facebook.

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