Good Shepherd thrift shop celebrates 15th birthday
Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food Pantry celebrated its 15th anniversary last week with a luncheon at West Haven Baptist Church.
Guest speaker Matt Clayton, youth minister at Tonganoxie Christian Church, showed a video about the youth group's 2001 trip to Mexico during which teens built houses.
"How do you get 46 teen-agers to volunteer to go on a school bus overnight through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas in the last week of June," Clayton asked.
He compared the teens' work and service to that of thrift shop volunteers.
"They hear the call to go, they hear the call to work and they hear the call to serve," Clayton said.
The mission trips stop in El Paso to pick up supplies before crossing the border.
At this point, Clayton said, teens usually become quiet.
"They're not at home, there's a huge flag flying in the wind, but it's not their flag, and the homes they see are made out of palates and cardboard they're in the midst of a lifestyle of poverty," Clayton said. "This is when they realize 'This is why I've come.'"
At the construction site there is no electricity and are no modern conveniences.
"There are no power tools," Clayton said. "The only power they have is the power of the Holy Spirit and that keeps them going."
Thrift shop volunteers, and community residents who donate items to the thrift shop, are like the teens, Clayton said. The residents drop off items, thrift shop volunteers work at the shop and the board of directors oversees the operation that serves many.
Ken Sheaffer, whose wife, Shirley, along with Lois Lee and Dorothy Korb, directs the thrift shop, told of recent progress. The shop's roof has been repaired, a shed installed outside for storage of medical equipment and seasonal decorations, and a nonweight-bearing basement wall has been removed, which should help when moving furniture in and out.
Lois Lee said volunteers last year put in a total of 8,426 hours at the thrift shop. In 2001, seven new volunteers began working at the thrift shop. The enterprise assisted 496 families by donating food, clothing, household items and by providing assistance with rent and utilities.
At Christmas, thrift shop volunteers spearheaded a drive in which 31 families were adopted, and provided a Christmas dinner and gifts. Benefactors of the thrift shop programs live in the Tonganoxie area, as well as Linwood, McLouth, Oskaloosa and Ozawkie. And, Lee added, some of them are homeless.
"I wish each of you could know their stories," Lee said.
She told of families who temporarily need financial assistance, food or clothing while the parents are out of work.
"Usually it is the mother that comes to us," Lee said.
The help couldn't happen without the efforts of many, she said.
"It is the three hours a week, and more for others, that makes a difference for many of the people in our area," she said.