IMPACT
11/16/2011 09:09 am ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

Penn State Scandal: Second Mile Center Nonprofit In Philadelphia Suffers Big Business Blow (VIDEO)

WATCH:

View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.

During its 30-year history, a Philadelphia nonprofit thrift shop has helped hundreds of ex-cons get back on their feet without a glitch. But then, the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal hit.

Now -- The Second Mile Center -- faces a 30 percent drop in sales and fuming customers because locals have confused the store with the charity linked to recent sex scandal that's rocked the city, NBCPhiladelphia reports.

"We are, in essence, being silently victimized by the story in a way that we can’t control," Gerald Sterrett, an employee, told the news outlet.

The Second Mile Center is a nonprofit that provides jobs, training and support for former convicts. But, Philly locals have mistakenly blamed this charity for the accusations being launched against the organization with nearly the exact same name, the Second Mile, according to NBC.

Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky faces 40 counts of sex abuse involving minors, and allegedly found his young victims through the Second Mile, a charity he founded that serves at-risk youth.

"People call venting about who we are," Ron Lucas, who sits on the nonprofit thrift shop's board, told Weeklyxpress.com. "And they hang up before we get a chance to tell them that we have no connection to the Second Mile charity or the accused sex offender. Those callers are hurting the people we’re trying to help."

To help distinguish itself from the defamed Second Mile, the shop has hung a couple of explicit signs on its door, NBC reported. One of which reads:

"We are not in any way connected to the Second Mile of the Penn State scandal. We are the Second Mile Center"

However, the nonprofit worries that the signs aren't enough.

"A lot of negative attention has come the non-profit's way," Lucas told Weeklyxpress.com "It's the kind of attention that knocks the Second Mile's people 'back down again.'"

The people who come to the Second Mile Center typically live in halfway houses and are either on parole or probation. For many, working at the store is the first legitimate job they've ever held.

They spend about eight months at the job and also attend meetings to learn workplace etiquette and to talk about morality.

"We can change the world from our little place on 45th Street—one person at a time," Lucas said.

WATCH Related Video:
Subscribe to Must Reads.
The internet's best stories, and interviews with their authors.

CONVERSATIONS