Donation-based thrift store opens on the Hilltop - Titusville Herald: News

Donation-based thrift store opens on the Hilltop

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Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 5:00 am

After receiving a copious amount of donations consisting of clothing, shoes, furniture, toys, books, kitchenware and more, one Hilltop pastor decided it was time to extend the generosity of his church’s donors beyond the church doors and into a neighboring thrift store.

Pastor Benjamin McCauley, who opened The Lord’s Extended Hand Thrift Store on Nov. 27, 2018, began mulling the idea to take the abundance of donations received by Full Gospel Church and put them in a storefront somewhere between a year and a year and a half ago.

“We’ve never done this before, so we winged it,” he said. “We had this building here, and this used to be a Bible book store [which closed] back in 2001.”

McCauley said the building was a bit worse for wear when he began pastoring at the church, so he gutted it and put a new roof on it, also adding in a new ceiling, floor, insulation and finished the building around the start of November.

Over the last few years, he said the church had acquired several donations, to the point that locals referred to them as “the Salvation Army of Pleasantville.” These donations were stored partially in the church and the unfinished building prior to its opening as a thrift store.

“We would be a blessing to people,” He said. “It’s what we do. If somebody needed clothes, if somebody needed food, if somebody needed counseling, they could come to us.”

McCauley holds dear the philosophy that the store is meant to help those in need while also contributing to various organizations, projects and mission trips that the church is affiliated with.

There is no set price for the majority of the items in the store. Instead, McCauley said the approximately 15 volunteers that help run the store allow patrons to set their own price.

“Everything here is by donation,” he said. “People come in and they put the price at whatever they think it’s worth. There are a few things here that we have a suggested donation price on, but for the most part, you get to put your own price on it.”

Because the church works closely with organizations like Love INC and has done its best to help those in the community during their time of need, McCauley mentioned that some items have been set aside for people in need at no cost.

During the time of The Herald’s interview with McCauley, two boxes had been set aside for people in need, one containing children’s clothes for a family that had their home robbed, and the other containing an assortment of clothes and items for a family that lost their home in a fire. These boxes, McCauley said, are given for free, as the goal is not profit, but to help those who need it.

“The average person that comes in off the street, they pick whatever they want and they pay whatever they want, but if we get a particular call like this, it’s for free,” he said. “We’ve always [given away things for free] but [the store] is all new. And the stuff just keeps coming.”

McCauley said donations come from all over northwest Pennsylvania, including the shelving units used in the store to display items, which were donated by a company in Cambridge Springs. Often, he said, donations will pour in three to four times a week.

While the donations may slow briefly, he said the church, located at 16912 Jerusalem Corners Road, Pleasantville, was receiving large amounts of donations long before he began actively seeking them for the store. Between books, tech gear, kitchenware, furniture, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, clothing for children and teens, clothing for babies and toddlers, shoes, jackets, purses, jewelry, wall art, movies and more, McCauley said only about 20 percent of the donations received are actually inside the store, with the rest waiting to be sorted.

“It’s constantly changing,” he said. “I just bought some shelving from Carpenter’s Corner.”

The funds the store earns, which so far have totaled roughly $1,400 since its opening, are broken up between various endeavors, with 50 percent being put toward the store’s bills. The rest of the money goes toward helping with Love INC; mission trips; a couple in Kenya that have an orphanage of 28 kids; a man that attends the church and visits 11 countries each year for mission trips; various local youth trips; volunteers in the store, an organization called “Gospel for Asia,” where donors can purchase homes, chickens and cows for those in need; an organization called “Heart Cry,” where donors can purchase homes or churches for others and a variety of other funds.

One fund is what McCauley referred to as “help ministry,” which is put toward those in the community that are in need of assistance with a variety of home-related issues.

“Let’s say there’s an elderly woman who needs a toilet replaced,” he said. “Well, my word, we have someone that can do the work and we have a source of finances to make that happen, so that’s help ministry.”

Ultimately, the goal for McCauley is to offer help to those in need, whether it’s through the funds accrued by the store or through giving store items to those who need them at an affordable price.

“The neat thing about this being by donation is the people who can [donate] end up doing more,” he said. “They just naturally do. It’s kind of built into the system. The people who can’t, we have some people that come and they take a lot for very little, and that’s ok. They might get it for less than a quarter a piece, but then in the process of that, those that can give more, they just do. I mean, we’ve had people come in and lay down a $100 bill. They just do it. It’s been a blessing.”

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Tuesday and Saturday, and donations are always accepted at the church.

Dodd can be reached, by email, at ndodd@titusvilleherald.com.

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