By VICKI EICHMILLER
Serving Christ’s needy is the first purpose of all St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores. We embrace the corporal work of mercy “clothing the naked” as a literal commandment and aim to serve those in need. St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores throughout the United States are associations of lay employees and volunteers dedicated to serving our needy sisters and brothers. We welcome all who come to our Evansville thrift store with dignity and respect. We hope our customers and neighbors leave as friends who look forward to shopping with us again. Those who cannot afford the clothing, furniture and other household items they need will be provided for through a Vincentian-initiated referral system.
When our friends and neighbors come to the Thrift Store to have their material needs met, we strive to give them so much more. We greet these people with open minds, ears that listen and hearts full of compassion. We have some employees with firsthand knowledge of what it is like to live in need; when they serve our friends in need, they are able to empathize with them and really understand their perspective. This helps our friends and neighbors feel welcome and not judged because of their current circumstances.
In our community, we are the No. 1 resource for clothing needs. We work in collaboration with the other nonprofits — including churches, homeless shelters and social-service agencies — to provide clothing for everyone, no matter their age or size. We take great pride in knowing that we provide people with basic human necessities, including clothing, home goods and beds at a free or reduced cost. Over the past couple of years, we have made connections with area retailers who donate their items to us after their final sales. Yes, you are reading this correctly; be sure to stop by and shop for brand new, brand name clothing from your favorite clothing stores at great prices. If you see me out and about, you can bet that I am wearing something from the Thrift Store every day. Feel free to stop and ask me what’s new when you see me in the community. When people find new jobs, change careers or simply want to add a splash of color to their wardrobe, they know they can come to our store and find a great deal.
Our store is a great place to volunteer because what is donated to us locally is sold locally. You never know what treasure you will find when sorting through donations or what friendship you might make working with others who care about our community. We average about 700-800 volunteer hours per month at the store, and we could not do it without all of their help. We set up scheduled donations pick-ups all over our community five days a week, so it takes our staff and volunteers many hours to ensure that we get these donations picked up, sorted and to the sales floor within 72 hours of donations. We add new stock to the sales floor daily to keep our customers coming back for more.
There are three things you can do to get involved, and I am sure one will appeal to you! First, donate your gently used items by dropping them off at the SVdP Thrift Store or calling to schedule a pick-up. Second, shop at the store; it will help us continue to help others. But if you do not have donations and/or do not like to shop, you can volunteer. We would love to welcome you anytime. Call our new Thrift Store Manager, Crystal McKinney, at 812-425-3148 to get information on donating or volunteering. Check out our Facebook page for weekly sales at the store. All this information and more can be found on our website at www.svdpevansville.org.
“You are the servants of the poor . . . They are your masters, and the more difficult they will be, the more unjust and insulting . . . the more love you must give them. It is your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you will give them” (St. Vincent de Paul).