ABC7 In Your Neighborhood: Naperville

January 27, 2012 8:04:51 AM PST
New businesses always hope they can help create jobs and stimulate the local economy, but a new suburban boutique has bigger goals.

It is boosting the financial future of women and children around the globe. In our Sunday segment, ABC7 In Your Neighborhood, we head to suburban Naperville to see what's inside the "War Chest."

You can find racks and rows of handmade jewelry with genuine gemstones, silk and cashmere scarves plus scores of other interesting accessories, a fashionistas paradise at the store located at 4 E. Jefferson Ave. But shoppers say they appreciate knowing the dollars they spend here actually make a difference.

"It's different, first of all, you'll find jewelry here you won't find anywhere else," said shopper Alyssa Flannigan. " And again, just the story behind every piece of jewelry is just fantastic."

The store is called "WAR Chest." WAR is an acronym for "women at risk."

"WAR is a global organization in 31 countries addressing 14 different risk issues," said Becky McDonald, founder of Women At Risk International. "All our stores sell products made by women rescued from human trafficking or at risk of human trafficking. Every $250 of jewelry or whatever we sell here, basically supports a woman for one month in a safehouse.

The organization is based in Michigan and has two stores there. This is the first outlet to open in the Chicago area.

"We chose Naperville deliberately because, first of all, it's Chicago and Chicago is one of the top 10 cities for human trafficking and also because this community is a family community and we're hoping it's a cause-related community," McDonald said.

The store opened over the summer. Local shoppers say they welcome the opportunity to purchase gifts that give back.

"Back in October of 2010, one of my friends got married and, as a bridesmaid's gift, we got something from the Women At Risk store," said shopper Hillary Romin. "And I'm getting married in July and I thought it would be a nice thing to give to my bridesmaids."

The organization also partners with orphanages overseas and pays for schooling for some children. Every purchase comes with a gift card that gives information about the woman who made the product or a woman who is being helped.

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