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Online Thrift Store Offers Bargains and Jobs

Posted: August 16 2012 at 01:10 PM
Author: Anne Marie Gerhardt


Thriftshop

Aug. 16, 2012

Who doesn’t like a bargain? Kingswood United Methodist Church is offering a new, convenient way to shop for bargains and giving back to the community at the same time. The New Beginnings Online Thrift Shop officially opened for business in July selling reasonably priced items and offering job training skills to those looking for employment.

About three years ago, while Kingswood member Chris Spaeth was prepping for the annual church rummage sale, she invited a group of adults with disabilities from the Center for Enriched Living to work a couple of hours to sort clothes and other tasks.

“Their presence in the church touched so many hearts in those two short hours,” said Spaeth. “Not only did our visitors leave with a sense of pride and accomplishment, but Kingswood volunteers were blessed in many ways. One even made the decision to volunteer for the Center for Enriched Living.” That was the moment Spaeth wanted to do more to offer this experience on a daily basis through a thrift store.

After countless monthly meetings, the vision to open a retail store that would offer job training skills moved to an online model.  Spaeth says at the time, numerous thrift stores had opened in the community just blocks away from the church and they were unable to receive enough grant money to get started. “It was as if God was telling us…‘No, I don’t want you to go in that direction,’” said Spaeth.

The online store offers a variety of gently used artwork, children’s items, electronics, furniture, sporting goods and much more.  Spaeth says it’s a win-win since the items stay out of a landfill and are given a “new beginning” into the hands of someone who needs them at a reasonable price.  The sales of the donated items help to sustain the ongoing job training program.

“We are hoping to provide job training skills in computers, retail, and marketing to people with disabilities, people who are at risk of becoming homeless due to unemployment, and people who are often passed up for job opportunities due to lack of experience such as immigrants,” said Spaeth who says the shop will also give back so much more to Kingswood.  “Volunteers from Kingswood will have the opportunity to reach out and share love and kindness, as Jesus taught us, to people in the community who have never come through our doors on a Sunday morning.”

Kingswood received a Northern Illinois Conference (regional) creative ministries grant in 2011 to help launch the project. If you are interested in browsing the store visit www.newbeginningsthriftshop.org and if you’re interested in viewing an item, send an email to thriftshop@kingswood.com.

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