By Martha Nodar
Louise Clifford started volunteering at the Buckhead Christian Ministry’s thrift store after her husband died seven years ago.
“I needed to feel needed,” said Clifford, a member of Wieuca Baptist Church. “Volunteering at the thrift store fills a place in my heart. We greet our visitors very warmly and make them feel welcome.”
And the volunteers, in turn, create the heart and soul of the thrift store, known as the Buckhead THRIFTique, which now is supported by 29 churches in metro Atlanta, said Tasha Schroeder, the ministry’s communications manager.
THRIFTique, which recently moved into a new store on Miami Circle, now employs as many as 50 volunteers, Schroeder said.
“With their help we are able to keep our doors open six days a week,” she said. “The Miami Circle location also offers improved parking, easier store access, and a larger storage space.”
The ministry was founded in 1987, Schroeder said, by five Buckhead churches: The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip, Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church and Wieuca Road Baptist Church.
The thrift store emerged about 11 years ago as a way for the ministry to help prevent hunger and homelessness while aiding people facing a life-changing event, such as loss of a job or a medical emergency.
Betsy Harrell, a member of a women’s group at the Peachtree Presbyterian Church, volunteers at the thrift store every Tuesday.
“My job is to make sure all the linens are separated by size,” she said. “It is very rewarding to see that we are making a difference in the community.”
Harrell said people in need first go to the BCM Business Office, which is located in Piedmont Road, use the food bank there and get their vouchers, which they may exchange for clothing and household items at the thrift store in Miami Circle.
Robyn Hazelrigs has been managing the store for almost two years after working for years for corporations.
“This is my first time working for a nonprofit organization,” she said. “I love it. It’s fabulous. I come home every day with a deep sense of accomplishment. People who come to our store are very appreciative. I listen to their stories and put myself in their places.”
Hazelrigs said employees and volunteers of the ministry are focused on helping those in need maintain their dignity through difficult times.
For more information, visit: www.buckheadchristianministry.org.