The Redeemed Again Thrift Shop isn’t huge, but the hearts of its volunteers and donors are.
“We are so fortunate with the donations we get,” said Merle Moore, one of the supervisors at the shop, which is located in the lower level of St. Matthew United Methodist Church in west Belleville.
Most of the goods that fill the long narrow space that makes up the shop come from members of the congregation.
“We get clothes with the (store) tags still on them, unworn, and new purses,” she said, going through a rack and picking up a new pair of sandals. “We are very particular.”
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On a Wednesday morning, five volunteers worked on filling shelves and tabletops with Easter and spring items, from straw purses for $3 to colorful ceramic bunnies for a quarter. Resale clothing is priced no higher than $3.
“We wanted to get the word out that we are here,” Merle said. The church is tucked away in a residential neighborhood off South 74th Street and even its entrance is out of sight, around the back of the parking lot. But, there is an awning with “Thrift Shop” on it to guide the way.
Income from the shop goes to various ministries at the church.
Volunteer Shirley Merritt pointed to a colorful collection of aprons hanging on the hook near the entrance.
“These were made by Joyce over there,” she said, nodding across the room to Joyce Allen, 90.
Several years ago, she started making aprons to be sold there, including matching sets for parent and child. The adult version sells for $10; the kids, $5.
“You can wear it for more than cooking,” Joyce pointed out, indicating the big front pockets. “I can make five a day, if I need to.”
Last count was in the hundreds.
Joyce donates her time making them, and money raised from their sale has a special purpose.
“It goes to buy Bibles,” said Merle. “Then, we give them away.” They even are shipping some of “Joyce’s Bibles” in Spanish overseas.
If you need another reason to stop by, do it on the third Saturday of the month. That’s when St. Matthew offers a free community lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the fellowship hall, Merle said.
“You can come and have a meal and then you’ll get a ticket that lets you come down here and get four free items (clothes, shoes and purses).”