With temperatures in the 80s, now is the time of year when a Franklin nonprofit starts looking for winter clothes.
While clothing donations of every type are needed and welcomed, now is the time of the year when the Lord’s Cupboard starts to stock up on winter clothing as parents prepare for the changing season, manager Julie Parish said.
The nonprofit thrift shop located off U.S. 31 in Franklin aims to help those in need, while providing an inexpensive place for community members to shop.
Approaching its 45th anniversary this month, the Lord’s Cupboard was established in the basement of a church in 1971 by the Church Women United of Johnson County. It’s mission: providing cheap clothing and household items for the community with free items given to those in need.
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While the Lord’s Cupboard operates like a typical thrift store, selling donated clothing and goods at heavily discounted price, it uses those funds to donate to the community and give away free clothing and other items to families going through tough times.
Clothing prices that range from $1 for infant and toddler sizes to $4 for adults provide an affordable option for a family needing to dress several growing kids, Parish said. For those in need, the prices can be waived, she said.
In the case of a fire or other emergencies, families will be invited to come to Lord’s Cupboard and pick out clothing for free. And several times a year, the Lord’s Cupboard will offer free shopping for people who have been referred to them by local churches or social workers, Parish said.
Last year, the nonprofit helped more than 1,300 people, including giving out 381 vouchers for clothing or other items for families in need. So far, this year, they have helped more than 800 people.
Three employees and five volunteers keep the thrift store running.
“We wouldn’t be able to run without our volunteers,” Parish said.
The thrift store was previously located at the intersection of Johnson and Hamilton avenues, but moved to a more visible spot off U.S. 31 in 2013. And since then, they have had a significant increase in both customers and donations, Parish said.
“We just felt we needed to get to another place where people could see us more,” Lord’s Cupboard Board of Directors President Beth Horton said. “We are very excited. Donations are up. We have been able to double the amount of families that we can help out.”
Horton’s family has been involved with the thrift store since its inception. Her grandmother, Elsie Canary, was a founding member. Horton’s mother, Martha Compton, has also served on the board. While the organization has grown over the past four-and-a-half decades, its mission has remained the same, Horton said.
“It’s the same concept, just on a bigger scale,” she said.
Donations have also increased throughout the years, which Horton attributes to donors being less frugal than they once were.
Last year, the organization received more than $19,000 in donations.
And those donations are needed, she said.
“There are more single moms and dads than there used to be,” Horton said. “There just seems to be a greater need.”
Besides donations to area families, the Lord’s Cupboard has also supported international orphanages in Costa Rica and Myanmar, formally known as Burma, with donations to provide clothing for each child, Parish said. The organization also awards two $500 scholarships to Franklin Community High School students each year.
Anyone interested in dropping off clothing or other items just needs to knock on the back door during business hours, Parish said.
Clothing donations are welcome regardless of season, she said.
Another big need is furniture. The store can accept it as long as it is gently used and there aren’t any stains or tears, Parish said.
Here is a look at the people the Lord’s Cupboard has helped in recent years:
Vouchers for families in need: 381
People impacted: 1,357
Amount donated: $19,622
Volunteer hours: 664.5
2016 (through August)
Vouchers for families in need: 248
People impacted: 819
Amount donated: $12,036
Volunteer hours: 539
To celebrate its 45th anniversary, the Lord’s Cupboard is hosting an open house. Shoppers will be able to fill a bag for $4.50:
Date: Sept. 17
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: 606 Banta St., Franklin
The Lord’s Cupboard thrift store accepts donations of gently used clothing, furniture, household goods and other items.
Where to donate: Donations can be dropped off at the back door of the store is at 606 Banta St., Franklin.
When: During store hours 10 a.m. to 5p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.