UNION — A local women’s ministry is celebrating one year of operating the Sheltering Arms Resale Shop by expanding the hours of business.
Beginning this month, the store has expanded its hours. The Sheltering Arms Resale Shop — located at 125 E. Main St. — will now open on the first and third Saturday of each month, from 8 a.m. to noon.
The Sheltering Arms Resale Shop — from which all profits are given to the Union County Foster Parent Association (UCFPA) — was in serious need of volunteers last year, when the ladies of a women’s ministry at Oakbrook Community Church answered the call.
The ladies of Oakbrook Community Church’s SWAT (Serving, Working and Advising Together) Team discovered the Sheltering Arms Resale Shop while volunteering there last summer as part of the countywide Jerusalem Project summer ministry.
After the Jerusalem Project was over for the year, the ladies of the Oakbrook SWAT Team decided to continue their volunteer service, and on Nov. 5, 2011, they began operation of the store, opening the first Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to noon.
“Working at the store is a blessing,” said volunteer Kelly Baldwin. “This is an opportunity for us to be involved with other people in the county, not just our church. I wasn’t aware of how many kids in Union County are in foster care.”
Baldwin said she enjoys offering such low prices at the resale shop, but she most enjoys watching foster parents come in to shop for soon-to-arrive foster children.
Items such as household goods, jewelry, pocket books, toys, books, home décor and kitchen supplies are donated and resold at Sheltering Arms Resale Shop, with all proceeds going to the UCFPA.
The UCFPA is a non-profit organization that raises money for foster families to be able to provide the children with sports and recreational opportunities, school supplies, prom and senior supplies, computers, car seats and more. As of this month, the store began selling clothing as well.
Other items — such as cribs, car seats, toddler beds, clothing, shoes, school supplies, etc. — are collected at the store, but rather than being resold, they are donated directly to local foster parents and children.
“Some of these foster children leave their homes in the middle of the night, and all they have with them is the clothes on their back,” Baldwin said.
Since foster parents only have foster children for a short period of time in some cases, the store allows them to return items they no longer need.
In the past year that the Oakbrook SWAT Team has operated the store, Baldwin said more than $1,100 has been raised. Those funds go toward the planning of special events or “fun days” for the foster children in Union County.
For more information, contact Amy Austin at (864) 466-7879 or Kelly Baldwin at (864) 429-6202.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.