Dexter Woman Finds Her REpurpose


Image from REpurpose Facebook page.

By Michelle Colby, STN Reporter

“Lots of free goodies,” is a common phrase found on the Spread Kindness Dexter Facebook page. Jess Pascoal is a big contributor to those in need, and also the environment. The Sun Times News caught up with Pascoal to discuss her special pursuit.

“REpurpose is my social impact project where people can drop off what they don’t need anymore, and then people can come “shop” and take what they need,” explains Pascoal, “I’ve always hated the idea of things just being thrown away.”

Sign posted in Pascoal's half of the garage. Photo by Michelle Colby.

Pascoal set her sights on this project when she reached out to her neighborhood and offered her place as a drop off site for their unwanted items, even if it is junk. Her commitment is to find a home for it, or hope that it can be recycled. “It grew from there,” shares Pascoal, “The bulk-pick-up days are like a dagger to my heart. I couldn’t accept the practice of just throwing things away. So, my goal was to try to make it as easy as possible for people to get rid of the things they don’t need without having to think too much about it. Let me do the work of getting rid of it.”

Pascoal opened her garage, under the name REpurpose, for people starting August 2021. She had a crew of volunteers who would drive to drop off wanted items. People would fill out forms describing their needs. From there, Pascoal would build bundles for them and then have volunteers drop them off.

Items looking for a new home, at REpurpose. Photo by Michelle Colby

“We got up to 120 deliveries, which became a lot more than I could handle. It was just one person sorting everything, listing things, setting up for deliveries, and more. I am sad that we have stopped doing that because, there is definitely a need amongst those who are disabled, or have mobility issues, or don’t have transportation.”

However, she unofficially started this mission about 2 1/2 years ago, just before the pandemic. Pascoal describes, “I started being more aggressive during the pandemic. We were home and it was a really easy way for me to have a kind of focus and purpose while being trapped at home and not going anywhere.”

The consistent need for volunteers at REpurpose made it difficult for Pascoal to maintain the delivery demands. Having a beautiful daughter, made it difficult to maintain the need for cleaning, sorting, listing, bundling, managing volunteers, and etc. Her husband made the suggestion to scale things down until a solution could be found. The deal was struck. As long as he could park, he was okay with her keeping a scaled down version of REpurpose in the garage.

Jess Pascoal (L) with her husband Sean Fortier (R). Photo courtesy of Jess Pascoal.

Her 3 1/2 year old daughter, Mae, is a big helper. “She likes to help sort, but when it comes to clothes, she gets bored. She’ll ask ‘Where are the toys?’ Then, she goes shopping all the time,” says Pascoal, “She’ll get herself a little basket and fill it up and then try to hide it. I’m like ‘girl, we are not keeping that’. But, it gives me the opportunity to talk with her about where the goodies go and why. So, I am teaching her to borrow for a couple days and then return to the garage.”

What if Pascoal were to find more volunteers? She says, “I would love that. I love building bundles and with Christmas coming, I could use the help. I’ve done this the last 2 years. We’ve helped around 30 families last year. Families can submit their needs on a Google Form. We have “elves” that we take to go deliver all the bundles. This is the only time that we’ve had consistent volunteers.”

“There are programs in the area that help with Christmas, but they end up needing to be new items. Then, there are eligibility requirements,” explains Pascoal, “This is a judgment free zone. It’s like, you’re asking for help? You need it, take it. It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want you to have to prove to me that you can’t afford Christmas.”

Pascoal debuting her side of the garage, full of REpurposed supplies. Photo by Michelle Colby.

Necessities and fun things are what Pascoal looks to collect. Toys, toiletries, personal care, candles, fuzzy socks, and hot cocoa kits are a few of the items she puts together in bundles for Christmas. Pascoal mentions, “I would love to get volunteers to do the deliveries. I have noticed a trend from the forms that people are filling out. A lot of the requests are coming from Ypsilanti. There are a lot of people who need things over there and I just can’t manage or deliver that all by myself.”

In just over a year, Pascoal’s social impact project has reached people located in the Dexter, Ann Arbor, and Ypsilanti area, along with Chelsea, Jackson, Northville, Livonia, Canton, and more!

To learn more, please visit You can sign up to shop, drop off, or volunteer. She does not accept large items, for there is no room, for her to put it. And, it can probably go without saying, but just in case… Pascoal does not accept trash, either. But, she will probably be game to REpurpose your junk.

Another view of REpurposed goods waiting for a new home. Photo by Michelle Colby.
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