We gave out our first items just this week. Representatives from CRIS (Community Refugee and Immigration Services) stopped by to pick up about two dozen winter coats. They are working with some newly arrived refugees from places such as Iraq, Somalia, Eritrea and Bhutan, and most of those folks are not accustomed to the quickly approaching Ohio winters!
This picture of a corner of the store does not do it justice, especially after many of our items have recently been cleaned out!
We also made the store available to students of our ESL classes this week. One woman was thrilled to walk home with a nice winter coat, having lived in Ohio for some time but never having a proper winter coat at all. She was beaming from ear to ear. Those moments of grace really help lift our spirits and reassure us that what we are doing matters.
As our stock builds up, we are looking at ways to make the store available to patrons of the food pantry or other groups in town. We may be open once a week, or on an referral basis, or maybe even daily in conjunction with pantry hours--it just depends on staffing and how much stock we have. We are starting slowly.
Next week, we are getting a delivery from the Cub Scouts of St. Matthew's in Gahanna. We are looking for help unloading the truck on Monday morning, Oct 19th at 10:00 am--call if you can help and park on the street, as school will be in session and there won't be room. We also need people to stop by in the days afterwards to help sort items. The house # is 614-267-3322.
We will take any clean clothing, shoes, and other household items. Right now, we are focusing on winter items, such as coats, hats, boots and scarfs. We are also on the lookout for children's clothing, as that is often a much-needed as children outgrow outfits so quickly.
When the representatives from CRIS were here, they had a couple boxes of items in their car they asked if we wanted--an assortment of paper plates and cups, which Joan can use for the Labre ministry feeding the homeless in Columbus, as well as some bottles of chocolate syrup and sprinkles, which are always welcome to augment our ice cream bar. It is wonderful to be part of "God's economy" this way--people giving and sharing what they have, and God making sure that it all works out.