The South Wind Thrift Shop is donating their proceeds to charities in the community.

By Gale Rose

One of the best parts of living in a rural community is neighbor helping neighbor. South Wind Thrift Shop is taking that philosophy to heart and has taken on a new mission of sharing their revenue with various non-profit organizations in Pratt.

"We want to support other non-profits in the area," said Sara Wallace, South Wind Thrift Shop operations director.

The first recipients of this new program are Agape Health Clinic, Hope Center Benevolent Fund and Bread of Life Kitchen. Each organization received $300. The amount Thrift Shop can donate will vary, depending on sales at South Wind Thrift Shop, said Sara Wallace, thrift shop operations director.

Each organization uses the donation as they need. At Agape Heath Clinic, the money will be used to help clients cover the price of medications they can't afford, said Jeanette Gaider, Hope Center director.

Thrift Shop donations help the Agape Health Clinic and the Hope Center fulfill their individual missions, Gaider said.

At Bread of Life Kitchen, this donation will help them pay their utility bills, said Mary Flemming, co-coordinator of Bread of Life Kitchen.

Bread of Life Kitchen operates on donations and volunteers. Each week's donation income is different so they don't have a set amount to depend on. The number of people they serve can vary from 30 to 60 to 80 or 90. Even though they are open only one day a week for just a couple of hours, the refrigeration equipment has to run full time so donations like this one from the Thrift Shop are very much appreciated, said Flemming who wants more families to take advantage of their service.

"It (donations) mean a lot to our operation. It means so much," Flemming said.

The South Wind Thrift Shop is unlike other similar businesses in town because everything in their shop is a donation. The employees are volunteers so the income goes to paying the bills and whatever is left goes to the various charitable organizations in town, Wallace said.

This is the first group of organizations to receive the South Wind Thrift Shop donations under the new program. The year is divided into four quarters and the shop volunteers determine which organizations in town will receive the donations. A list of organizations receiving the revenue for that particular quarter is posted on the wall at the Thrift Shop.

A new quarter covering September, October and November is just starting. The organizations this new quarter are Pratt County Food Bank, Circles of Hope and the Family Crisis Center.

Besides donating clothing, dishes, toys and other items, monetary donations are also welcome at the Thrift Shop.

Besides donations, volunteers are a vital part of Thrift Shop operations. It takes dedicated volunteers to sort and display the donations and to help run the facility. Without donations and volunteers, Thrift Shop couldn't provide their service to the community.

"All this support keeps us going, said Rev. Terry Doekaran, South Wind Thrift Shop manager. "We can always use more volunteers."