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New thrift store ministry to offer affordable clothing, accessories in Beech Creek, Howard area

PHOTO PROVIDED Bargains & Blessings partnered with Liberty Baptist Church in Blanchard during their Backpack and School Supply Giveaway on July 24. The next sale is on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Faith Chapel United Methodist Church, 551 Hunter Run Road, Howard, off route 150 near Bald Eagle State Park.

HOWARD — A new thrift store ministry opened this summer to provide affordable used clothing and accessories to families in Beech Creek, Blanchard, Howard and surrounding areas.

After many years of praying, dreaming, thinking and planning, Faith United Methodist Church, located in Hunter Run, launched a mobile thrift store, Bargains & Blessings Community Closet. When a search for a suitable location for the store was unsuccessful, the idea of a mobile thrift store was presented and put into action. The church’s outreach team hit the ground running in late 2021 to make this ministry a reality.

“With the church being in a rural setting, we have to be willing to go out into the community,” said Pastor Mark Johnson.

Bargains & Blessings debuted this summer during food bank hours at both Blanchard Church of Christ and Howard United Methodist Church. The outreach was also on-site at Liberty Baptist Church in Blanchard for their backpack and school supply giveaway. Along with Faith Chapel, all three of these neighboring churches, plus the Beech Creek Wesleyan Church, have been collecting clothing for the outreach. There was actually so much generosity that Faith Chapel had to stop collecting temporarily. What better way to serve our neighbors than to be mobile and partner with other churches in the area?

“It is such a blessing to have the support and partnership of our church friends in the area. We all have the same goal of loving our neighbors so why not work together?” said Joni Bumbarger, co-chair of the mission and outreach team.

PHOTO PROVIDED Bargains & Blessings partnered with Liberty Baptist Church in Blanchard during their Backpack and School Supply Giveaway on July 24. The next sale is on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Faith Chapel United Methodist Church, 551 Hunter Run Road, Howard, off route 150 near Bald Eagle State Park.

The mission of Bargains & Blessings is three-fold:

— To provide good quality clothing at a low price to our neighbors.

— To be good stewards of the Earth by recycling clothing, shoes and accessories.

— To foster warm and friendly encounters.

Bargains & Blessings will feature its biggest sale of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. until noon. Clothing will be $5 per bag full! This shopping day will be on-site at the church at 551 Hunter Run Road, Howard, because there are just too many items to transport.

PHOTO PROVIDED Lynne Johnson, left, and Linda Confer, right, are pictured at a Bargains & Blessings event at Liberty Baptist Church.

“I personally enjoy thrift store shopping and saving money wherever I can, so it is great to be involved with a thrift store that also benefits the community,” said Bumbarger. “Stop by on Saturday for free coffee, water, snacks and conversation — and in the process you might just find some great deals as well!”

Bargains and Blessings’ much-appreciated volunteers have been working hard to get things ready for the huge back-to-school and all-season sale on Saturday.

“We have over 20 racks and six tables of clothing set up and ready for our shoppers,” said Linda Confer, a volunteer. “We spend a lot of time sorting through donations to make sure our customers get good quality items. We ask ourselves, ‘Would I wear this?’ before we display an item. And, you can’t beat the prices!”

Lynne Johnson, co-chair of the mission and outreach team stated, “This summer has been a trial run for Bargains & Blessings. We are pleased with the initial response from the community, but we already have ideas to make improvements to reach more people. We’ll spend our time this fall planning how to expand our outreach to meet the needs of our neighbors.”

You can support this ministry by shopping at the store, donating gently used clothes and shoes, and spreading the word. All profits from Bargains & Blessings will benefit outreach within the community.

Do you have an event where you would consider hosting Bargains & Blessings mobile thrift store (a 20 foot trailer)? Or do you know of immediate needs, such as fire victims, who could benefit from this ministry? Email Joni at jbumbarger@comcast.net to discuss details.

Also, watch for updates in Howard Happenings on where Bargains & Blessings will be next!

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