HOMETOWN HERO: Fort White thrift shop leader is giving back to the community that she was raised in
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FORT WHITE, Fla. (WCJB) - From the outside, the Fort White Community thrift shop looks like any other building.
But inside manager Cindy Patterson and her long time volunteers are making a deep impact by serving their small community and spreading God’s love.
“Our mission is from the book of James. Just about our work, and keep God in it and love people. Keep it community and that is what we’ve done” said Patterson who began volunteering at the community thrift shop in 2012 and became the manager in 2018.
This is because of her roots in Fort White.
“I love this community, I grew up in this community and I know that it’s a lower income community on the outskirts of a smaller big town. My kids grew up here. I know the needs of the schools. I know the needs of a lot of people” said Patterson.
The thrift shop currently has about 25 volunteers ranging from ages 16 to 86.
“I think it’s a joy that we see in the faces of the people that they get good deals and they find things that they don’t find in any place else” said volunteer, Harriet Prescott. “It’s just a camaraderie we have when people to come in here. We’ve got a lot of repeat customers that come in faithfully. For some coming in every single day.”
The shop provides for local schools, non-profits, fire victims and donates to local charities.
To help students during summer break, Patterson and her volunteers host a summer backpack program and provide food in place of school lunch.
“We do a lot for the school because the kids are our future and we want to supplement that way” said Patterson.
Early next year the thrift shop will be expanding to a larger building right around the corner from the current location, so Patterson and her volunteers can have an even larger mission field.
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