OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - St. Vincent De Paul in Ocean Springs is set to official open its new thrift store this week with the goal of raising money to help people in need.
The community store opened its doors on Sunday for a special “first look” event, selling tickets to give people the chance to be among the first to browse seek out hidden gems among the store’s aisles.
St. Vincent de Paul Society Member Rob Greuling says what truly makes this store special is that the proceeds are going to help the homeless.
“As our sign says, we help the poor. That is something that we all feel very dearly about, we take to heart, and we do every day,” said Greuling. “This is part of our mission, earning funds so that we can help the poor.”
After the first three years, members hope to have enough funds to initiate the planning and development of an independent, self-sustaining, centralized Family Homeless Shelter here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“This thrift store is just the beginning of it. It’s a means to an end,” said Greuling. “We recognize the need to generate funds for a family homeless shelter and, to achieve that, our thrift store has opened.”
The goal is to open the shelter in collaboration with organizations and form a separate nonprofit corporation to support the project. Family homeless shelters such as this have been accomplished by St. Vincent de Paul societies across the country, where more than 450 thrift stores serve the needs of communities.
To accomplish a goal like that, however, it takes a team of people dedicated to the cause. Many of the volunteers at the thrift store are from St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Alphonsus Catholic churches, but anyone else who wants to help is encouraged to do so.
“We can always use volunteers and we try to make it fun and enjoyable,” said Greuling. “Everybody has special talents and we try to utilize those special talents in different ways.”
Taking it one step further, the long-term goal of SVDP is to have enough steady revenue to open a community-based Help Center to provide a food pantry, meal preparation with a kitchen, laundry facilities, hygiene, restrooms and showers, counseling, continuing education, and other services to people in need.
In addition to volunteers, donations are also accepted for anyone who has clothes, furniture, or other household items. The St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store is located at 2200 Bienville Blvd in Ocean Springs, next to Planet Fitness.
An official grand opening of the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store will be held at the new Ocean Springs location on March 25.
For more information on how to volunteer, call Sally at 228-215-1610.
To read more details on St. Vincent de Paul’s plan for its family homeless shelter, as well as other services they provides, visit the organization’s website.