The Franciscan Center has been lending a hand to its neighbors for more than twenty years. Those in our community who are less fortunate are served through programs like food pantries, sack lunch deliveries, and a medicine cabinet. In fact, the organization serves more than 100,000 people in our area every year. We were first introduced to the Franciscan Center back in September of 2011 (week 13 of our first year) when we participated in the sack lunch ministry. In three hours on a Saturday morning we delivered almost 300 sack lunches. I remember that day, the smiles on the faces of the recipients, and the emotions that went with knowing that the sack lunch was the only meal most would enjoy on that day. You can read about that experience in a post we titled “A Little Brown Bag”. This week we re-acquainted ourselves with the organization and learned about a venture that will help support the work they do.
The Franciscan Center announced recently that they were opening a thrift store to “turn Rollerblades into food”. The store will sell donated clothing, toys, old sporting equipment, household goods, and other items. The money generated will help to fund the programs that serve thousands of men, women, and children on the south side of our city every year. Like most nonprofit organizations in today’s economy, The Franciscan Center needs new revenue streams. Over the last five years there has been a decline in foundation grants and donations, but a large spike in the need for services. This is a trend that is common in today’s world and something that challenges the existence of many nonprofit organizations. Alternatives sources of funding are desperately needed and this new store could be the answer.
The store will be located in an old Goodwill location in the Coliseum Corners Plaza in Fort Wayne. There is a lot of work to be done to get the sales floor set, racks in place, and the mound of donations sorted before the store opens on June 1st. That is how we helped this week. We put together some donated racking, performed some minor cleaning, and received a few donations at the back door. We enjoyed engaging with Franciscan Center staff and the other volunteers who were helping. We were only able to give a few hours, but the time was very rewarding.
Fort Wayne friends, I need you to listen to this call to action. The Franciscan Center needs your help. They need volunteers to help get the store open and donations sorted. The Goodwill store moved out, but the donations continue to pile up in the stockroom. I was shocked to see how many bags of donated items they have accumulated in just 4 weeks. They need hands to go through these bags, sort items, and get them onto the sales floor. This is a job you, your friends, and your family could do with ease. Even if you can only give a few hours, it would be greatly appreciated. Visit the organization’s website to learn how you can get involved. I also want to encourage you to visit the store after it opens. Buy an item or two and support a great cause and a great organization. That is all it takes to lend a hand through a new store.