By Todd Travis
When Margaret Burton took her truck to a mechanic earlier this year, she got much more than just her vehicle back. When she was talking with him, she shared her dream to open a thrift shop as a nonprofit. Upon returning, the mechanic offered her a lease on the space right there in that same building.
“I thought I was just going over there to get my vehicle fixed, but the Lord just laid it on that guy’s heart to help. I just know all of it was God working. I’ve seen that this helps people and that’s my heart’s desire,” Burton shared.
The thrift shop, God’s Love Offerings and Donations Store, is in the old Waterman Hardware store at 7006 Southeastern Ave., a historical building that Mr. Waterman built in 1859. Over the past 130+ years the building housed a blacksmith shop, a carriage factory, Model T shop, gas station, hardware store, mower shop and more, all under ownership of the Waterman family.
Customers choose their own price
God’s Love Offerings opened its doors in September using clothing and other items collected from local churches and a few individual donations. Inside there are lots of different items you might find at any thrift store, but there are no price tags on any of them.
“The things that I have in it, I just tell people to give whatever they think is fair for the stuff. Some people come in and they’re in real bad need for stuff and they can have clothes or something if they really need it, or they just give me a love offering to help me to keep the store open. God just impressed to me that there’s just so much stuff and it can help people and so I’ve been trying that,” Burton explained.
Before opening this store, Burton worked in ministry outreach with her husband, who passed away about three years ago. He pastored two different churches and as part of their outreach, they took food and clothing to the Appalachians in several different states. That work helped get Burton connected with the people who helped her collect the items that she’d used to open the store. She took the step of faith to open the store and now hopes that it will grow, and more people will get involved.
“I’m just doing it by myself. I just started out – I’m on social security and I’m up in my years. I just started this out of my own pocket, but I do have it incorporated as the church. Mainly, I just started this out on my own and I’m hoping to get it built up to where it gets a lot of people involved,” Burton mentioned.
Helping their community
Burton has already seen how this store is helping people in the community.
“We had a grandfather who came in with his son and a 5-year-old boy. All that boy had was the clothes on his back because his mother had put him on the street. CPS had gotten him, and they let the dad get him back, but they didn’t have any clothes for him. So they came in and got a couple jackets and a coat and some shoes and clothes. I thought that was pretty outstanding to be here and to be able to help,” she said.
Burton had help from family to get the space set up and stocked. The place needed painting and tables set up as well as all items.
“That was a special thing, knowing that you can rely on your family to be there no matter what ideas you come up with to do,” Burton laughed.
To donate to the shop, please visit the shop or call and ask to speak with Margaret. The phone number is 317-945-8550.
“I would just like to see people come together and be people. It’s not about a church. It’s about people and caring and helping and that’s my biggest goal for the whole mission here is to do that,” she concluded.