Well, we’re wrapping up our time here at Jordan Outreach Ministries in Coachella, CA. Our final official duty was last evening – we helped “man” the (free) Thrift Shop that is offered to folks who come for a worship service and food distribution. Earlier in the week I worked to get the shop organized (with a little help from Gary who would stop by periodically to lend a hand). Here is what the place looked like when I walked in on Tuesday –
I spent my days hanging clothes, sorting toys, and generally organizing the “stuff” as best as I could. The week before we had been given boxes and boxes of cute canvas shoes from Wal-Mart. The problem was they were all jumbled up together – no pairs and lots and lots of patterns. I was really thankful for Gary’s help on that one as we sorted patterns, matched pairs and then rubber-banded them together. (There are still about 8 boxes of shoes that we didn’t get to! We saved them for the NEXT batch of Sowers!) At any rate, the store was ready to open up on Friday-
Since the room is relatively small, and there are about 100 people that need to go through in the space of about an hour, there are some limitations that have to be in place.
1. Only five folks in the room at a time.
2. You only have 3-5 minutes to shop (remember there’s a LONG line behind you).
3. You can choose 3 articles of clothing (shoes count as one), a pkg of Depends/Poise, and then two “other ” things (games, toys, household things, etc.).
4. NO kids allowed and only one family member can come through. (The kid thing we had down, but how do we know “family members? That one was tough.)
We worked out a system – Gary would man the door, letting folks in and then checking their “purchases” on the way out. His Spanish has improved – he now knows uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, apurarse (hurry up!). He really developed a fun raport with the folks waiting in line (probably had something to do with his really bad rendition of apurarse 🙂 ). I, along with another couple, would help the folks as they came through the room. Mostly we were trying to explain that they could only have 2 of the “other” (there were lots of toys this time, so it was hard to chose for some folks).
All in all it was a good night. There was a real spirit of gratitude amongst the folks that were able to take home some necessities along with some frivalities, and I was pleased to see the room begin to empty out of “stuff”.
Because I know that by next week when the new group of volunteers come to organize the Thrift Shop – it may very well look like this again –
I think Christmas (and seeing our kids and grandkids) can’t come soon enough for him (or me!).