Recently, a new thrift stop opened on 3rd Street, adding a new opportunity for retail therapy to the Bayview community. The store, called NU2U, is operated by Project Bayview, a nonprofit dedicated to giving second chances to people coming out of difficult life situations, including crime and drug use. The nonprofit provides separate housing for men and women under director Shawn Gordan, with an emphasis on Christian ministry.
Project Bayview first opened its men's home at Third and Hudson in 2014. It currently hosts 18 men, who also work at the organization's restaurant, Huli Huli Hawaiian Grill, located downstairs.
Open Monday-Friday from 7am-3:30pm, Huli Huli offers breakfast and "Polynesian-inspired" lunch options, such as kimchi fried rice, Spam and the “Big Uce” Samoan plate. In addition to staffing the restaurant, the men of Project Bayview also maintain a community garden on its patio.
This year, Project Bayview added a women’s home, which is located at the corner of Third and Revere streets. Currently, there are eight female residents, but plans to expand are already in the works. The residential program is structured around Bible study, community service, counseling and recovery, with each woman assigned a live-in mentor.
“We support people who are dedicated to keeping their lives on track, and we do it with church," said men's home manager Justin Clark. "We see men and women come in that felt rejected by people in their past, and decided to turn their lives over to Jesus. When they have that desire to know Christ better, we work with them—and through their discipleship, we work together to better the community."
When asked why Project Bayview chose Bayview as its home, Clark expressed that the organization's purpose is to go into broken communities and bring new life there, with the underlying goal of spreading its ministry.
That spirit of community led to the opening of NU2U, which, like Huli Huli, is a social enterprise, intended to give the women of Project Bayview an opportunity to learn job skills and integrate with the local community. The shop offers clothing for all ages, as well as antiques, appliances, and more.
The name NU2U was chosen because “what's considered old to someone else is new to you," explained the store's manager, Sarah Zabala. "Because we are a ministry, our old life is now made new through Christ, so that's part of our slogan."
Zabala, who's a Southern California transplant, joined Project Bayview this year, following in the footsteps of her husband. "We used to commit crime together, and lived a life of addiction," she said. "He got out of prison two years ago and moved here, while I was eight months pregnant in the county jail, about to be sentenced to go to prison. That was the turning point for me. That was when the Lord softened my heart.”
23 year-old Karriyama Bintu-Rakib, who also works at NU2U, moved to San Francisco with two suitcases and barely enough money for two months' rent. She first joined a ministry in the Tenderloin, then made her way to Bayview.
“I was never in jail," she said. "But I’ve experienced a lot of trauma and child abuse. I believed I was worthless and unloved. There were a lot of counseling tactics I tried that never really healed me, until now. I had to take responsibility for the stuff as I was doing at the time as well. I was stealing a lot from malls, so it’s someone serendipitous that I now work in retail.”
The prices of items in the shop vary, but are largely affordable, and all proceeds go right back into the organization, keeping both businesses of Project Bayview active. For those interested in supporting the store, it also offers volunteer opportunities, including helping out with duties like stocking items and sorting donated items.
NU2U is located at 5009 Third St. For business hours and more information, visit their website.
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