Our little church in Tomahawk has gone through quite a few challenges over the years. We have been pretty small in number, hovering around 15-20 for sometime. And the average age has probably been 75-80 years. However, we wanted to make a difference in our community.
Everyone has rummage/thrift sales and that’s good, but we wanted something different. Clothes are always needed, but don’t always do well at a sale and sometimes are over priced. So how could we meet a need?
We all have clothes that we get tired of, but don’t wear out so we thought of a way to help everyone. We could get a clean closet and fill someone else’s at the same time.
We started seven years ago with the church family bringing items they no longer wanted. Though it’s a lot of work, we turn our fellowship hall into a thrift store for three days. People bring items they don’t want and anyone can come and take items they can use. It has been an eye opener. We have made so many people happy. They can’t believe it is all free!
We have clothes for all ages and sizes, linens for bed and bath and beyond, shoes and boots in all sizes. Every year more people donate. The left overs go to the LightHouse Thrift Store in Columbus and to some of the thrift stores in our area. Even the rags get put to use.
This year we had an elderly gentleman come who had size 14 shoes. His were duct taped together! We had received donations of money from people in the community and so we were able to get him a brand new pair of size 14 shoes – that is NOT a popular size! The lady that cares for him was just amazed at all the clothes we gave him. Plus blankets and towels that he needed so much. She called me twice after the Drive to tell me again how impressed she was.
We were also able to help an elderly couple who lost their home in Florida due to the hurricane and will have to be here for the winter. They were able to find winter clothes that they needed.
A grandmother, who now has custody of her granddaughters, found the clothes that she needed for them. She couldn’t have afforded to buy, even from a thrift store, what she was able to get from our Drive.
If we don’t have what people need, we take their name and phone number and try to help them where we can. Our local radio station does free advertisements for us all week and for a week before the event. This year an area TV station heard about what we were doing and they came and interviewed us. Our story was on the local station three times that day, all for free.
God has helped us every year to be able to help so many people. The community looks forward to it. We always have people that want to donate for the next year.
The greatest story this year was a lady who was helping an elderly widower. She was able to help him find clothes and shoes and also found things for her own grand children. But, the best part is that she also found Jesus and has started to attend church! On her first Sabbath she said she didn’t know much about Seventh-day Adventists and would like to read more about us. She took home our Sabbath School lesson and other materials and even mentioned coming to our prayer meeting. She also wants to start Bible studies sometime.
God is so good! Our little church has grown to over 40 in number and there are more on the way. Keep us in your prayers. And, try a clothing drive. It is a lot of work, but you can do it.
Candee Kuhn, member of the Tomahawk church