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'Gifts that Give Back': Local gift shop recognized for homeless-giving efforts

Desert Flower Homelessness.jpg
Posted at 6:49 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 19:50:39-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The work of two co-owners at a small store that offers succulents and a wide array of other gifts was applauded yesterday by a non profit that works to assist the Coastal Bend’s homeless community.

It was Wednesday evening when Coastal Bend Neighborhood Empowerment thanked sisters Ashley Ginithan and Kendall Blackwood after picking up blankets from Desert Flower to distribute to those in need of them.

Ginithan, one of co-owners, said the program began in December of last year — around the same time they had their grand opening.

“If a customer bought a blanket, we would donate one to the homeless,” she said. “We had a great number of blankets go to Father Bruce at the Coastal Bend Empowerment group.”

Giving has always been a part of their business, the two said.

“All of the stuff in here — when it is purchased, it goes to a nonprofit org of some sort, and there’s so many,” Ginithan said.

The two sisters said they have since sold out of blankets, although they plan to get more soon. With summer approaching, however, they are now in the works to create a similar program that would instead equip the homeless community with sunscreen.

“When we opened this store, one of our goals was to always make sure that we were helping the local community in some sort of way,” Ginithan said. “We’ve done programs with Agape Ranch (a foster care service), Youth Odyssey, Rio Bravo Ministries, and so the Coastal Bend Empowerment group was just another group that we love to help.”

Blackwood said she recently moved from Miami to Corpus Christi so that she could be closer with family. She attributes her longing to help others from her past experience as a school counselor.

“I worked with a lot of homeless families, families in transition, at risk youth,” Blackwood said. “It kind of came from the background of just having done that, and wanting to continue to be helpful in the community.”

Desert Flower also sells handmade items made by the youth that works to raise money for their extracurricular activities, Blackwood said.

To keep up to date on the stores different programs, you can follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Coastal Bend Neighborhood Empowerment also regularly lists their programs on their Facebook page.