Blessing Others Through the Bargain Center

 In Bargain Center, charis house, Ministry Village, Most Excellent Way, Tender Hearts Caring Hands

The Ministry Village Bargain Center offers discount shopping and thrifty finds to bargain shoppers; however, its primary mission is to provide funding for the various programs of Ministry Village at Olive – including the Tender Hearts Caring Hands food pantry and benevolence program; Most Excellent Way’s addiction support groups; and the Charis House, a faith-based residential recovery program for women suffering from addiction. In addition to benefiting our community through these ministries, the Bargain Center team and volunteers continually seek out new ways to bless others. Recently, the Bargain Center began new partnerships with some local organizations to give extra inventory a new life.

With limited space for storage, inventory turnover is crucial to the Bargain Center’s business model. During 2020, Bargain Center manager Julie Paden needed to find a more fruitful way to manage the store’s excess clothing. Bargain Center clothing, linens and fabric donations that are not in sellable condition are regularly recycled through large boxes called gaylords. The Bargain Center partners locally with Teen Challenge, a Christian program that works with young people who are struggling in life. Through this partnership, the Bargain Center sorts out-of-season or slightly damaged clothing and linens into large boxes (gaylords). Once the boxes are full, they are sold by weight to Teen Challenge to be used in one of their ministries. Teen Challenge sends those materials to Guatemala where they have a partnership ministry that repurposes the fabrics, turning them into clothing and blankets for the less fortunate. But even with this unique and useful partnership in place, the Bargain Center was still faced with a dilemma – what to do with clothing that had not sold but was still useful.

“We were consistently faced with a large quantity of clothing that needed to be cycled through the store, but the items were too nice to trash or recycle through our usual methods,” explains Julie. Julie shared her thoughts with Kathy Clements, a dedicated Bargain Center volunteer and Ministry Village Board Member. “Julie asked me to try to find a use for all the extra clothing the Bargain Center was accumulating, particularly the business clothing,” said Kathy. “During the pandemic, so many people were working from home, so business clothing was not a big seller.” Julie and Kathy wanted these clothing items to be a blessing to others at a time when so many were in need. Kathy began to speak to friends and call local organizations. Soon, she and Julie were able to create some new promising partnerships.

Kathy learned that local hospitals often have patients who have no clean clothing when they are discharged from care, and no local family members to help them. “When patients arrive at the hospitals by ambulance, or have been long-term care patients, they often have no clothes to wear when they are discharged.” Baptist Hospital has a small clothing closet consisting primarily of lost and found items and a few donated pieces. Through this new partnership, the Bargain Center can now curate specific types of clothing that will work well for patients and provide them to the hospital. Kathy and Julie are also talking with representatives from Sacred Heart Hospital to create a partnership there as well. “Items are not for resale,” explains Julie. “They are to be given freely to those in need.”

Another local organization the Bargain Center is working with is Pace Center for Girls. Pace offers support services to girls ages 11-17 in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Girls receive social, emotional, and mental health counseling as well as academic and social support. “Some girls in the program need clothing to wear for job interviews,” explains Julie. “Some girls just need clothing for their day to day lives. We are happy to be able to partner with Pace Center to help their clients find clothing items they need.”

In addition to local hospitals and non-profit organizations, the Bargain Center regularly supports local foster families. “Many families receive emergency placements, and often those children come with only a few items of clothing. We work with foster families to help them find what they need.” In addition to providing items from their excess inventory, the Bargain Center is able to provide foster families with gift cards to shop for specific items. “We recently began selling Bargain Center gift cards, so anyone can pay it forward by purchasing a gift card and donating it back to the Bargain Center. We use those gift cards to bless families in need.” Gift cards can also be purchased as gifts for friends or family members.

“Finding new ways to reach our community and share God’s love and blessings with others is why we are here,” says Julie. “We are excited to be able to give items to these local groups and do what we can to make them feel cared for and more confident.”

🚛 For more information about the Ministry Village Bargain Center, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinistryVillageBargainCenter or on Instagram @MinistryVillageBargains.

🙏 For more information on Ministry Village at Olive, Inc. and its work in the community, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinistryVillage, on Twitter @MinistryVillage, visit their website, MinistryVillage.org, or call (850) 473-4466.

🛒 Shop the Bargain Center at 92 E. Nine Mile Road, just east of Palafox, near the railroad tracks. Monday through Saturday, 9 AM to 5 PM. With unique vendor booths, furniture, clothing and more, there’s always something exciting for everyone!

📦 Donations are accepted Monday through Saturday, 9 AM to 4 PM. If you have large furniture, call the Bargain Center during regular store hours to schedule the Bargain Center’s truck for pickup. 850-912-9222. Or visit www.ReSupplyMe.org to schedule a pickup online.

🔎 Want to be a Bargain Center VIP Treasure Hunter? Be the first to learn about our sales and special events! Text 850-613-0288 to join our new text group and receive special text updates!

**Because of government regulations, the Bargain Center does not accept donations of mattresses, and does not sell used or new mattresses. Please contact your sanitation service to dispose of used mattresses. **

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