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The front doors of the Little Wing Relief Shoppe and Thrift Store, March 27, 2024, which recently opened behind The Market on State, in Athens. The store's mission is to provide aid to Ukraine as they experience war.

Little Wing thrift store provides collectibles, support

Tucked away on East State Street is a hidden gem: Little Wing Curiosity Shoppe & Thrift Store. Upon entering the doors at 1006 E. State St., shoppers are met with a collection of individually priced curiosities: antique books, china dish sets, a dress from the year 1900 and even handmade drums. 

For many local thrift fanatics, Little Wing Relief is Athens’ best-kept shopping secret. For Ukrainian citizens, it is an overseas haven.

Feb. 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. According to AP News, more than half a million people have been killed or seriously injured after two years of war in Ukraine. 

A report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine revealed extensive violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws by Russian authorities. 

Little Wing co-founders and married couple Holly Dallman and Tom Medley were devastated by what they were witnessing across the world.

“When the war in Ukraine started, we were horrified,” Dallman said. “Tom and I were sitting at the dining room table saying, ‘Well, what can we do? How can we help?’”

Dallman and Medley have a long history of searching for ways to help those in need.

“When Holly and I were first married, she said, ‘Tom, we’re gonna get rich so I can give away a lot of money,’” Medley said. 

After Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998, the pair was quick to step up and help facilitate international aid shipping. They have spent many years helping raise money for local non-profits through rummage sales.

The co-founders combined their knowledge of international shipping and fundraising experience to start the Little Wing Curiosity Shoppe and Thrift Store.

Dallman and Medley met Dmitry Feld, the marketing director for the U.S. Olympic luge team and a volunteer who had been shipping packages to Ukraine. With his help, they began collecting products for relief including food, medical and hygiene supplies, relief for soldiers and a medical tent.

Little Wing Relief has collected and shipped nearly $500,000 in humanitarian relief items to Ukraine. They have sent three 40-foot containers full of supplies with one goal in mind: to help those devastated by the war.

“(For) the shipments we send to Ukraine, every little bit of what we send, we get reports back that they're very welcome and very needed,” Medley said. “We are proud of the work we do.”

To continue funding the shipments, Medley, Dallman and volunteers work tirelessly to maintain the thrift shop, keeping everything neat and organized.

When shoppers first walk into the thrift store, they are greeted by the “Artist of the Month” display. Little Wing works with local artists to display their work and sell it.

As customers continue into the building, they are quickly met with a neat display of items. Little Wing Relief sells furniture, electronic items, kitchenware, clothing (modern and vintage) and other odds and ends.

“If it's not perfect, it shouldn't be here,” said Dallman, who works to sort through clothing and household items to ensure everything meets her standards.

Regular volunteer and retired Ohio University employee Chuck McCall helps complete repairs around the store. McCall, also known as “the Chuck of all trades,” works to make furniture pristine again and restore antique items.

“​​I just like to tinker,” McCall said. “I've been tinkering all my life.”

Medley and Dallman said this would all be impossible without the help of volunteers like McCall and community members who donate and shop at Little Wing.

Everything sold at Little Wing Curiosity Shoppe and Thrift Store are donations directly from the community. All of the proceeds from the store go toward Little Wing Relief efforts. 

Dallman said customers who choose Little Wing are making a direct impact.

“They're saving lives,” Dallman said. “They're giving hope to people who need it, who are desperate.” 


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