The Fellowship Thrift Shop is operated as an outreach of the Leitchfield United Methodist Church (Elizabethtown District) and is located in the house next door to the church. Church members and others in the community donate gently used household items, decorative pieces for the home, some furniture, and gently used clothing for babies, children, men, and women. We are open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Due to a lack of volunteers, we will be open on Fridays only in 2009. We lost our grant with the federal government, which gave us a worker for 20 hours a week.)
This is our mission: that folks who need help will find good quality items at an affordable price and be treated as our guests while they shop.
In November, we turn our existing Thrift Shop into a “Christmas Shop.” Out go the clothes and practical kitchen and other items. Our Christmas Shop has only new or nearly new gift items donated by our church family. It is a joy to behold the gifts as they are donated for this project. These gifts are for adults, because the children are the shoppers. The children who shop are the ones who have been approved for the “angel tree” in Grayson County.
What a wonderful activity for celebrating the gift of our Savior! If you were involved with the Christmas Shop, you know that. If you gave a gift for a child to choose, you know that. If you prayed for this ministry, you know that. Such a grateful thank you goes to all the volunteers who helped children select a gift, wrap that gift, filled an order for shoes, underwear and socks, or kept the dining room snacks looking appealing and welcoming for the parents and children.
There were 290 children served (79 of these were 4 year olds from Head Start), and 37 elderly shopped one afternoon. We were able to give shoes, underwear, and socks to 85 families. A special thank you to Santa, Bro. Al Williams, who cheerfully spent 5 hours two different Saturdays having his picture taken with the children, while elves, volunteers from our church and youth group and the Middle School “Y” Club, took the digital pictures and got them printed and delivered to the right family. Santa had his beard and mustache tweaked a few times to be sure they were real—they were! Each child received a bag of goodies which reminded them “Happy Birthday Jesus.” 224 bags were stocked by volunteers.
Another big thank you goes to the hard workers who helped us transform the Thrift Shop into a Christmas Shop and for those who decorated our shop to look like Christmas. The UM Women filled 135 “Mommy Bags” (personal care items put together by members of our congregation), and as the last elderly shopper left we handed her our last Mommy Bag. Isn’t God’s power amazing?
Our church has a powerful ministry for children and their families at Christmas. The resources of the Thrift Shop have been blessed this year; we were able to buy 10 Youth Bibles for the children who come to JAM in our van ministry; we also donated $565 to the new church fund.
Pat Wagner, Leitchfield UMC