It's a specialty shop near Hartville that works to help women who are homeless or living in poverty.

LAKE TOWNSHIP  As a child, there were times when Beth Daugherty didn't understand her father's actions.

For example, stopping the car and going to the aid of a drunk being harassed by another man on an Akron street. Or giving away a bag of fresh oranges to a homeless man standing along a road in Florida.

She understands now and figures those instances and others instilled her with the desire to help others.

Last year, Daugherty opened My Sister's Place, a specialty shop at 887A Edison St. NW, just outside of Hartville. She has teamed with Haven of Rest, a homeless center in Akron, to assist women who need a job.

The shop reflects Daugherty's interests and offers a mix of new items and used products. Shoppers will find jewelry, clothing, home decor items and books.

"It's a culmination of the passions God has given me," Daugherty said of the products she sells. "None of this is my stuff. It all belongs to God."

The shop's mission is to help — in any way possible — women who are struggling.

Making connections

Daugherty has employed several women through the Haven of Rest. Lori Phelps, of Akron, still works with Daugherty.

"We try to help them get on their feet," Daugherty said of hiring Phelps and others. She helps the women learn skills, offers encouragement and there is a paycheck.

In addition to helping local women, Daugherty uses her shop to help women in other parts of the world. Most of the new products in the shop are made in African and Asian counties, then sold here through fair trade programs. Daugherty said she works with three distributors who ensure that the artisans making the products receive a fair wage.

Daugherty calls it "purchase with a purpose" because people benefit when a customer buys a fair trade item. There are the artisans who made the product and the apprentices who work at My Sister's Place. The community benefits from increased awareness of social justice issues, she said.

A set of shelves with a dozen "change jars" helps to promote community needs. Each jar has a tag with an organization's name, Sleep in Heavenly Peace and the Alliance domestic violence center are examples. Customers are urged to put change in a jar to help the different groups.

"Awareness is key," Daugherty said, and she tries her best to let people know about programs that fill needs and help people. "I love connecting people and networking and helping people find what they need."

One of Daugherty's connections is with Days For Girls, an organization that helps women in developing countries by providing kits on menstrual health education. Many of the kits are sewn by volunteers.

Meanwhile, Phelps learned sewing through the Future Story program at Haven of Rest. Phelps sews aprons and other household items that are sold to help finance Haven of Rest programs. Daugherty worked with local Days For Girls members and got a sewing machine that Phelps now can use at the shop. Items made at My Sister's Place are sold there and Phelps collects a profit.

Doing something

Daugherty believes that everyone can do something to help make a difference in someone's life. Volunteering at a food pantry, nursing home or shelter are examples.

"Just being kind, speaking encouraging words and sharing a smile can be a gift to one who needs it," she said.

Both Daugherty and Phelps have worked their way through rough times, and moved forward because of the help and kindness of others.

Phelps and her children were residents at Haven of Rest. Phelps said she found herself homeless after counting on a relative to pay rent, only to learn that the relative kept the money and never paid the landlord.

Participating in the Future Story program helped Phelps learn to sew and led her to the job at My Sister's Place. In addition to working with Daugherty, Phelps also teaches in the Future Story sewing class.

Daugherty is divorced and remarried. She has been though difficult times, but said she was fortunate to find people, programs and resources that carried her through.

"I thank God for those rough times because I'm better able to help women in need," Daugherty said. "I'm very thankful for the trials I've had."

Daugherty said she came up with the idea for My Sister's Place about two years ago. It took about a year to find the location and bring things together. She was helped by best friend Rose Banner, a consignment shop owner who opened Eclectic Rose in the space next to My Sister's Place.

Daugherty said her faith in God gave her the vision. Once she started, there was no doubting anything. "I've never been without it," she said of her faith.

My Sister's Place, like several Hartville businesses, is open when the Hartville Marketplace is open for business. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Friday and Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @epritchardREP