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A month ago today, West Nash United Methodist Church opened a thrift store, and organizers promised to put every penny earned back into the community. On Wednesday, the church donated $500 to The SPOT to support youth services.
“The mission of our church is to share God’s grace and love and to serve the community, so this is a very major way in which we hope to serve Wilson. And we’ll only see it grow and reach more lives,” said the Rev. Tuck Taylor. “We want people to know West Nash United Methodist Church cares about them and the community. As Jim says, we do want to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
The church at 2200 Nash St. N. has owned an adjacent building for years, and members dreamed of opening a thrift store, but it wasn’t until June that the vision started to take shape. Thrift store director Chong Sikes had run a similar church store in New York, and volunteer Jim Bass said she was integral in pulling the store together.
“The store is amazing. It is amazing and it is just the beginning,” Bass said. “It will be such a basis for all the outreach in our church.”
Church members worked hard in recent months to prepare the store by painting walls, cleaning the floor, pricing merchandise and setting up displays. And the building is chock full of clothing, jewelry, household items and linens, furniture and toys.
The store — which only takes cash — is only open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, but response has been overwhelming. And the popularity has enabled the church to present a check to Matt Edwards, CEO of The SPOT, Wilson Youth United’s youth center whose name means Sharing Positive Outcomes Together.
“This summer, we hosted a summer learning program with children here all day for six weeks,” Taylor said. “We needed to feed them, and I went to Matt to ask about purchasing food because they were already cooking. He said, ‘I won’t sell it to you. I’ll give it to you.’ They provided breakfast and lunch for 20 children for six weeks.
“They are near and dear to us, and they also are concerned about the things in the community we’re concerned about.”
Edwards said the money will go toward the sponsorship program, which provides food, academic assistance and other support. Community members can pledge to be a sponsor where they can attend the Breakfast for Champions and meet the kids who are getting assistance.
“You become a champion when you sponsor a child. For us, that is a champion,” he said. “We can win trophies and that sort of stuff, but it is done and then collects dust. This is making a difference every day.”
Taylor said there is a board of advisers whose members determine which nonprofit groups receive portions of the proceeds. She added that the store provides an outreach to support various groups, but the effect on individuals who shop in the store is just as important as it allows the church to share God’s love by caring for those who are in need.
“We strive to do that in a way that honors the dignity of the other person,” Taylor said. “It is our prayer that this thrift store will be a place where folks find community, feel loved and are able to purchase quality items they need with the limited resources they have.”
Visit http://westnash.org/ or call 252-237-4258 to learn more, donate or volunteer.