Samaritan Thrift in Pitman closed its doors on November 1, 2020 for the last time. The shelves were empty and the remaining clothing and collectibles were in boxes ready to be taken to local collection centers. The glass counter, cash register, mannequins, filing cabinets, and other fixtures were about to be listed for sale in two Pitman Facebook yard sale groups.
As one door was closing another was opening. Dani Cooke, creative director for First Baptist Church’s future community development corporation, heard about the store closing via social media and reached out to inquire about the remaining items for its new thrift store, Fig Leaf Thrift Shop.
Sally Cezo, Samaritan’s director of volunteer services who also supervises Samaritan’s thrift shops, instantly knew upon connecting with Dani that she found the perfect home for all of Samaritan’s remaining thrift items.
“As we began working on the basic outline of what was needed to open Fig Leaf Thrift, it was clear that the cost of fixtures and the time needed to accumulate stock for the shop would create a pretty intense timeline and fundraising goal,” said Dani. “When I heard the unfortunate news that Samaritan was closing their thrift shop on Broadway, I immediately reached out and was delighted by Samaritan’s quick response and generous offer of all the items at no cost. It is an enormous gift that we are so grateful for.
The connection of the missions of Samaritan and Fig Leaf Thrift was apparent. Sally, Dani, and Pastor Randy Van Osten agreed that Fig Leaf Thrift’s work was going to be a continuation of the work Samaritan had done in Pitman years prior.
Together, the group, plus Laura Mattox, Fran Yearwood, and Paul Bowen spent many hours loading their cars at one store and unloading at the other down the street. This symbolic passing of the baton turned what was a sorrowful situation for Samaritan into a wonderful, feel-good ending.
“It’s Samaritan’s honor to donate everything toward First Baptist Church’s new endeavor. We are proud to be able to support their thrift store,” Sally adds.
Pastor Randy: “Even though it was a lot of work moving the items from one place to another, it was also fun and exciting. We are thankful to Sally and Samaritan for believing in our mission. We look forward to doing things together in the future. Jesus’ words in John 12:24 come to mind, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Samaritan Thrift may have “died,” but it will produce many seeds (fig seeds) in and through Fig Leaf Thrift.”
According to the church’s website, Fig Leaf Thrift Shop plans to open in early 2021. Money raised through the thrift shop will fund the creation of Lighthouse Community Development Corporation that will support initiatives such as an after school program, life skills training, hot meals, and more.