by Christi Gabhart, Store Manager at Many Hands Market
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16
Many Hands Market has nearly eight weeks under its belt of being “open for business.” The people involved have been rewarded in many different ways. Involvement in Many Hands Market can be in the form of a customer, a volunteer, a person making a donation, or sometimes all three! Customers are getting cool stuff at a great price in a welcoming, pleasantly arranged environment. Many people making donations have expressed joy while giving away their unneeded items since it is going to a good cause. The many volunteers that make it all happen experience joy by giving of themselves when serving the mission.
The boxes and bags of donations have reached flood stage, and the Market sales have been far beyond expectations of the start of a new business. Besides those quantifiable things, there are so many successes behind the scenes. One young volunteer stated that she really feels purpose through her volunteer commitment to the Market. She said she knows this is her way to serve God. Another volunteer simply stated one morning upon arrival, “I just can’t stay away!” The exclamation made by volunteers, “I just love being here” is commonly heard at the Market. Adult children have shared the joy they see in their parent as a result of being a volunteer at the Market. That reinforces the attitude shared by many volunteers: “We just get to come and ‘play store’ each day.”
Of course there is lots of hard work that goes in to each day. Receiving, sorting, cleaning, fixing, hanging, folding, tagging, pricing, displaying, moving, rearranging, selling, loading, dusting, and sweeping happens all in one day. Then the next day comes, and there is receiving, sorting, cleaning, fixing, hanging, folding, tagging, pricing, displaying, moving, rearranging, selling, loading, dusting, and sweeping to be done. And it’s fun!
The fun is contagious. Just the other day a regular customer stated she had a really rough day at work and that an end-of-the-day trip to the Market was just the remedy. One afternoon several weeks ago an elderly couple was impressed with the friendly atmosphere created by volunteers and customers alike. As they were making their purchase, help was offered by a volunteer and a customer to load the large item into the back of the pickup. The wife paused, then quietly stated, “Hmmm, that hardly happens anymore. I think I need to just stand here a minute and soak this in.” Whether she knew it or not, it was God’s glow that is beaming in and around the Market. Our mission: to make God real in a broken world. The glow is warm, bright, and real.