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Church-sponsored 2nd Time Around Shop a boon to many

August 15, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Happy just to be out of the heat one recent Tuesday afternoon, a young mother of four stepped inside St. Peter's Lutheran Church and found her joy increased twofold.

She first visited the food bank, which is run by the Clear Spring Lions Club, and then she walked down a hallway to the church-sponsored Second Time Around shop.

"I'm shopping for four children, so this is a godsend," said the woman, who noted that their ages are 10, 9, 6 and 3. "We needed the school supplies and school clothes."

Her friend and baby sitter was happy when she spotted shoes that would be perfect for one of the other woman's youngsters.

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"I knew about this place because the Washington County Department of Social Services told me or I'd have to do without," the woman said.

The members of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in 1994 opened the clothing bank in the church at 30 S. Martin St. as an outreach to provide clothing in a more localized area.

The clothing is free and available to anyone in the community who needs help. The shop also stocks bedding, linens, toiletries and seasonal items such as school supplies.

Fire victims, schoolchildren and area families going through tough times have paid visits to the Second Time Around Shop.

Janice Gearhart is the volunteer coordinator of the clothing bank, which is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m., except for Thanksgiving Day.

"There are nine volunteers who work shifts - not only dealing with the public but also handling drop-offs from area residents," Gearhart said.

The other volunteers include Beverly Altman, Connie Bell, Annabell Kayser, Ruth Mills, Patricia Martin, Kathy Snyder, and Alpha and Warner Shingleton.

On a recent Tuesday, Lori Long came in with some drapes to donate.

Martin has been a volunteer for three years. "We go to breakfast on Tuesdays and then come here to sort," she said.

Gearhart said out-of-season items often are given to St. Paul's Reformed Church east of Clear Spring, which ships items to a place in Kentucky.

Any money that is donated goes to buy toiletries or, this time of year, school supplies.

"Anyone who comes in is served - there are no requirements," Gearhart said.

The Second Time Around Shop advertises through flyers and the volunteers keep in touch with the schools.

Last year, 2,060 pieces of clothing were received. The number of people served by the clothing bank was 185, Gearhart said.

Just down the hall, Harry Bryan was busily filling bags with food products for people in need. The food bank, which shares not only the church but the same hours as the clothing bank, has been in operation since 1978.

Pastor Fred Faust, now deceased, spearheaded the project, Bryan said. "It has always been at St. Peter's," he said.

The rules are simple - the first time a person shows up seeking free food, that food is provided and an application form is given to that person, Bryan said.

The applicant must then fill out the form and go to the Washington County Community Action Council to get a slip so he or she can get food once a month in Clear Spring.

"We get donations from people and other churches," Bryan said. "With the money we get, we buy food from Ernst Market, Food Resources Inc. or deer meat from Hunters Feeding the Hungry."

Perishables are stored in two freezers, Bryan said.

Bryan is the chairman of the food bank committee. He alternates shifts with Jim Elliott and Sonny Gallion.

"I retired in 1992 and came to the food bank the next day," Bryan said. "It's very rewarding because it has helped a lot of people."

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