The South Shore News
RUSKIN – Good news, thrift store shoppers. Angel Attic is about to reopen.
Dwarfing its predecessor at nearly 4,000 square feet, the new Attic has space to offer more bargains than ever and, through its sales, help low-income residents.
“This expansion will enable us to provide more food for the growing numbers of families in need through Community Cupboard, which Angel Attic supports,” said the Rev. Jack Palzer, pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church. The two efforts are “by far the largest local ministries” of the church and both are “100 percent staffed by volunteers and self-supporting,” he said.
Money from the sale of donated clothing, furniture, appliances and household items pays for the food Community Cupboard gives away to between 300 and 350 low-income families every week. Around Thanksgiving that number swells to more than 550.
Volunteers include church members, area residents and youngsters needing community service hours for Bright Futures scholarships, Sabo said.
“We also have some that come through the court system due to minor infractions. What’s especially gratifying to me is that these kids blossom like roses after working here. They gain a sense of belonging, a sense of fulfillment.
“That has become an integral part of this ministry,” she continued. “We’re not only about sales.”
The former Attic, an old 1,100-square-foot trailer, was torn down six months ago to make way for the new structure, which has a 2,800-square-foot sales floor, a large sorting and tagging room and office. It has bright blue walls to mimic the sky and open ceilings to represent clouds. Paved parking, handicap accessibility and landscaping were added.
“The space is flexible to accommodate whatever merchandise needs to be moved,” said Paula Sabo, longtime congregant and business manager for both the Attic and Cupboard. “We are so blessed to have the additional space.”
Construction of the new thrift store is Phase I of Calvary’s overall building plan, said Terry Boyd, chairman of the steering committee charged with the project, which cost $400,000 to complete. An anonymous donor gave $150,000 in seed money to get things started and the remainder came from Calvary’s building fund, he said.
The church currently owns 25 acres on College Avenue East in Ruskin, where the Attic and Cupboard now sit. Future plans include an 18,000- to 20,000-square-foot multipurpose center, 600-seat worship center, fellowship center, recreation facility, nursey, cafe and meeting rooms. The site also has room for a youth center, adult daycare, school and activities center someday.
“We’re looking at options to be able to start building before we sell our current facilities in Apollo Beach,” Boyd said. “We simply have no more space.”
Community Cupboard began out of a barrel in the Calvary Lutheran Church narthex more than 30 years ago, Sabo said. When Angel Attic opened in January 2005, the Cupboard was relocated next door at 1424 College Ave. E.
The Attic’s hours of operation are 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Cupboard is open 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays.
For additional information, email Sabo at [email protected] or call Calvary Lutheran Church at (813) 641-7790.