No-Cost and Low-Cost Bargains

Saving Grace Episcopal Church News Release

Shopping on Molokai is more affordable with the launch of the “Blessings,” a free merchandise room at Saving Grace Episcopal Church thrift store in Kualapuu. Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the U.S., and bargains help stretch a budget. In 2014, Saving Grace Episcopal congregation, led by Father Jim Loughren, started the thrift store in the church property’s fellowship hall. The store sells gently used items such as housewares, small and large appliances, clothing for all ages, books, music and much more at bargain prices. Recently, a family was shopping, and the family’s young child saw a toy and clutched the toy to his heart and said, “my truck,” and looked at his mother. Father Loughren gifted the toy to the child and the new free merchandise room was conceived.
“Weekly we receive an abundance of donations, and it is an opportunity to ensure resources to support families in need,” said Dana Moore, Blessings project manager.
Economically priced merchandise is in the main building, and free merchandise is displayed in three rooms outside the main building. Families can shop for free once a week and fill a large white bag with 20 free items and one free large item such as a vacuum cleaner or lamp.
The thrift shop continues to sell donated merchandise because the funds support the church’s other community programs such the monthly community food bank distribution and the church’s free community WI-FI. The church also pays for the electricity and the electronic equipment rental, and salary for one part-time employee. The community’s youth and kupuna sit under the massive shade trees, cruise the internet and touch base electronically with families throughout the week. Kualapuu has no public internet and many families can’t afford home service. In addition, the church hosts the weekly Saturday food and arts and craft vendors from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The community is generous in donating merchandise when families downsize their homes. The merchandise is recycled and is not filling the landfill.
Do you have some spare time to give back to the community? Malia Bentley is the store’s part-time employee, and she relies on volunteers to sort and shelve donated merchandise and purchases on Saturdays. The thrift store is a friendly, safe place for adults and teens to volunteer for a few hours. The store attracts teens volunteering for mandatory community service for scholarship applications, and community members from other congregations, schools, and nonprofit agencies keep the store’s shelves stocked and organized for the Molokai community. Check out the free merchandise, give back to the community with a few volunteer hours, and return home with slightly used merchandise at bargain prices. A blessing for everyone.


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