Serving the poor

New opportunities are opening up for the Beacon of Hope to serve the poor in Fort Dodge.

Two buildings were recently donated to the local men’s shelter. They will be used for a thrift store, offices and space for a recovery ministry, said the shelter’s director, Steve Roe.

When Roe found out one building was for sale in early January, he knew the size and location made it perfect for the Beacon’s thrift store, but there was no money to purchase a building.

“I started praying that the Lord would put it on the hearts of the owners to give us the building. I waited about two hours, and I called one of the owners,” Roe said. “I told him, I was over looking at your building. … Could you use a tax write-off by any chance? He said, ‘It’s funny you should ask that.'”

Roe was shocked when James Moench and Chris Parker didn’t just donate one building, but also the second building and the parking lot in between.

“I thank God for putting it on their hearts to give us the building,” Roe said. “But by them giving us the building, this gives us incredible credibility that someone would invest in us, believing in us.

“It recognizes us in the community, that we are following through with the mission that God has placed on us.”

Before, the Second Chance Thrift Store was located on the upper floor of the shelter, but it was not convenient for shoppers, Roe said. Now the store has its own storefront at 17 N. 11th St., just around the corner from the shelter.

“With the thrift store, we want to keep our prices low enough that people in poverty can easily afford anything we have, so we can help them,” Roe said. “So that people who cannot afford nice clothes can have nice clothes.”

An abundance of clothing is donated to the Beacon, Roe said, and much of that will still be given away.

“Since the beginning, we’ve given thousands and thousands of dollars worth of clothes away. Winter coats, gloves, boots, along with all the necessities that someone would need who’s getting out of rehab, getting out of prison or the halfway house,” he said. “Or people coming out of the hospital with mental illness who are coming to stay with us – a lot of times they don’t have anything.

“So our No. 1 part of the clothing part of what we do is a ministry,” he said. “We will continue to do that.”

The store also gives the men at the shelter a place to work.

“It’s part of our work program,” he said. “The guys in the work program will do the sorting and hanging … keeping the shelves full, and sorting stuff according to size and everything. That’s a huge part of the ministry.”

The store will start out with clothes, but will eventually take household goods and furniture.

The other donated building is a former Verizon store, located just across the alley from the new thrift store. It can house a new recovery ministry, Roe said.

“We’ll start with doing a Christian ministry for addiction recovery,” he said. “I’d like to do something with families of addicts.

“We didn’t really want to do N.A. or A.A. We wanted to have something that was all about the healing power of Jesus. That opened this whole building up for a learning center and group ministry of dealing with recovery from our past. That doesn’t necessarily mean an addict. That means anyone who’s dealing with any type of struggles,” he said.

“It was part of a dream, part of the vision from the very beginning, and God has brought that into alignment with the plan he had for us,” Roe added. “You can’t deny what God is doing for us.”

Carpenters and painters from the shelter have been working on the store to prepare it for opening. Roe said they deliberately chipped off some of the plaster on the walls to expose the brick underneath, adding to the “rustic urban look.”

Roe said there’s a lot of work to do yet, but he hopes the store will be ready to open by Monday.