Skip to content

Thrift store ministers in multiple ways

** Editor’s note – The following is the second installment in a two-part series exploring the work of the Ministerial Alliance Thrift Store, and the role it plays in the community

By SHAWNNA ROBINSON/Farmington Press

“Giving back keeps the cycle of love going” is how Yvette Winston feels everytime she donates clothing or household items to the Ministerial Alliance Thrift Store, or a can of food to the Food Pantry.

About 11 years ago, Winston went through a difficult time in her life. She arrived in Farmington for the treatment program at the Aquinas Center – with her only possessions being the clothes on her back. As her treatment progressed her social worker obtained a voucher for Winston to pick out clothing at the Thrift Store.

“He had a voucher written for me and he took me to the store (which was then located on Columbia Street). I found some very nice things at the store. I picked out a nice robe plus some dresses to wear to church,” she recalls.

But clothing wasn’t the only thing she found that day.

“I also met some very sweet people. The volunteers at the store made me feel very warm and welcomed,” she said. Following her successful treatment, Winston moved into an apartment in Farmington. She was also able to visit the Food Pantry and receive help on the start of her new life.

“The food pantry was also very helpful to me when I did not have anything,” she said.

Shortly after completing treatment, she regained custody of her son, Isaiah, and found a job at the former Biltwell factory. She would often shop at the store to find clothes for her and her son, often re-donating items once Isaiah outgrew them.

“They always have nice, clean clothing. I could find many items for my son and would take care of them so I could donate them back to the store when he outgrew them,” she said.

Winston continues to “give back to the store” that has given to her. She said the store was there for her when she had nothing, and through her donations she is giving to someone else who may find themselves in a similar situation.

“God has been good to me. I know the thrift store is not just one person, but a group of people helping other people. The best thing I can do is donate,” she said.

Amy Grief is a caseworker with BJC Behavioral Health. Through her work she often takes clients to the Thrift Store to find much needed items as well as gain important life skills.

“The Thrift Store is a good place to take my clients because it gives them socialization skills,” she said. Grief has also seen the generosity of the store, which last year gave away more than $10,000 worth of clothing to those in need.

“I had a client who could not afford to buy clothing for her five children. We obtained a voucher for the family and the store allowed the mother to pick out three outfits for each child as well as each a pair of shoes,” she said.

Grief has seen those who have been helped take the time to help out, much like Winston.

“I have clients say ‘what goes around, comes around’ and they want to give back to the store that has helped them,” she said.

Leave a Comment