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God's Pantry offers basics for those in need

By: ANDREA BROWN
August 31, 2009
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photo - Suzanne Taylor's (left) finger is scanned by manager, Casey Adams, to look up her account before picking up her free clothes at God's Pantry Ministry, a thrift store that sells low price items and free clothes and food, in Fountain, Co., Monday. Photo by Cole W. Eberle, The Gazette
Suzanne Taylor's (left) finger is scanned by manager, Casey Adams, to look up her account before picking up her free clothes at God's Pantry Ministry, a thrift store that sells low price items and free clothes and food, in Fountain, Co., Monday. Photo by Cole W. Eberle, The Gazette 

FOUNTAIN • Nobody should go naked.

Or hungry.

That’s the mission of God’s Pantry Ministry, a thrift shop that might seem too charitable for its own good.

A sign in front says it: “Free Clothes.”

President Barack Obama could get some new duds and a loaf of bread here, said Carey Adams, director of the non-denominational organization.

“Anybody can come in. We don’t do income checks,” she said. “Anyone can get two food items a day and 30 clothing items a month.”

About 130 people daily come through the tall front doors of the cluttered corner shop that sits across from Fountain City Hall.

People of means shop here for books, linens, toys, dishes, jewelry and other items that go for cheap. Cash donations are accepted, but not required, for food and clothing.

“If you feel you aren’t of need, you can donate; there’s a donation jar,” Adams said.

Otherwise, people are kept honest by a computer fingerprint identification system that tabulates the number of clothes taken, and the slate is wiped clean every 30 days.

“There are 5,800 people in the database,” Adams said. “All you need is a Colorado address and your name. We cover border-to-border.”

There soon will be another site.

“We are fixing to open a second branch out in Ellicott. We’re hoping by Oct. 1. There is such a need out there in the rural communities,” Adams said.

The 42-year-old Ellicott mother of two school-aged children was a volunteer at the Fountain shop before taking the helm four years ago when the former director retired. It’s an unpaid position that can demand 80 hours a week of her time.

Adams, who used to work in real estate, combines business sensibility with generosity to get the most out of the donations yet retaining the purpose of the mission.

On a recent day, she gave away a polished dining table that could have easily fetched $60 to a developmentally disabled woman moving from a group home into her own place.

She held her ground at $15 with a shopper haggling over the price of a wooden dresser marked $25.

Donations daily arrive by bag, box and truck. The shop will also pick up items.

“It just comes all day long,” Adams said. “We don’t worry about empty racks.”

Most of the day-old produce and bread donated by Safeway is gone by the store’s 2 p.m. closing time. Furniture on the lawn is free at the end of the day to whoever wants it.

A monthly $5 bag sale gets rid of the old stuff to make way for the new stuff.

A dedicated crew of about 40 volunteers do the sifting, sorting, stacking, hauling, cleaning and pricing.

“I like to cook,” said Army veteran Frank Delfin, who makes lunch for the other volunteers before heading to his afternoon job.

The clothing room is where you’ll find Camille Webb, a military wife. “I do a lot of hanging,” she said.

Community service originally brought Alfred Apodaca here to do whatever needs to be done.

“I keep coming because I like it,” he said. “It’s people helping people.”

A computer savvy woman whose family was helped at Christmas put the shop on the Internet.

“That’s how we got the Web site,” Adams said.

Call the writer at 636-0253.

 

Details
God’s Pantry, 102 N. Main Street in Fountain, is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Hours for the next “Bag Day,” Sept. 12, are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost for the bag is $5.
The store does back-to-school projects, gives away Thanksgiving baskets, adopts families at Christmas and makes Valentine’s Day baskets for seniors.
Call 382-0643 or click godspantryministry.org.

 

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