The rule at our house is if one new purchase comes inside, one old one must go. A lot of stuff accumulates in the garage because of my “I-can-fix-it” husband accepting just about anything that comes his way, but that’s another story. At a certain stage in life, it is just plain practical to use the exchange rule – one thing in, one thing out.
So, a few years back when we moved to the neighborhood where we now reside, one of the neighbors who has become a great friend asked if I had been to Abba House yet. I had not, but listening to her enthusiastic description of what was available and at very reasonable prices, my husband and I began what has become a Saturday ritual for us. We bag up what we haven’t used or worn in awhile and take it the Abba House Thrift Store for someone else to use and enjoy.
This can be tricky, because there’s a lot of great stuff that other people have left working under the same rule, so I have to closely monitor what hubby puts in the cart. I hear myself saying, “Do we really need another (fill in the blank)?” It might be a really neat motif lamp, tool, piece of furniture, dinnerware, pots and pans, books, notecards, holiday decorations, garden items or any of a myriad of items available just like at a department store, except at the Abba House Thrift Store, just about everything is gently used. His usual answer is, “Do we really need another piece of artwork to hang on the wall?” I say you just can’t have too much of a good thing.
And that’s what we find every time we visit the Abba House Thrift Store, which is located in Perry in the old Harvey’s grocery store, 1309 Main Street. People are always there either strolling through looking for a bargain, or dropping off furniture and boxes of items to be sold. Donations are tax deductible. The helpful attitude of the staff makes them stand out in customer service, which is not by accident. You see, the proceeds from sales at the thrift store support Abba House, which is a ministry developed to teach women in crisis how to rebuild their lives and families through participation in a multiphase program that lasts a minimum of 15 months.
Julie Hundley, Rays of Hope team leader from Hope Church in Fort Valley, has spent a lifetime working with women and discovered Abba House when she and her husband moved to Warner Robins. “This area became a hub for our family and we find it to be very appealing,” she said.
“There’s brokenness in every person, and Abba House is there for those who do not have someone to help them through the brokenness,” she said. The Abba House facility where the women live is Christ-centered and located next to Grace Village on Hwy 41 S. in Perry. Thirty five women and children can be housed as they work through the “Being Made Whole” program.
“Abba House works to make the women strong individuals, strong in a family and high functioning in the community and at home,” Hundley said. She says a typical day involves preparing health-conscious food for each other; attending a “whole body” group session; working at the thrift store; returning home to do chores; and working through a buddy system to build strong accountability and responsibility.
Rays of Hope team member Vangela Snow joined Hundley with Abba House women Dec. 2 as they transformed the thrift store into a dining and auction environment with the goal to raise $100,000 for the program. The event was geared to be fun and interactive, including a silent auction, DJ Ty from Macon, a group singalong and catered buffet. Abba House founder Jim Sharp was even on hand.
“The food, the testimonials, the music ... and the audience joining in, both in songs and tears, got to the ‘why’” of the event, Hundley said.
Future stories will keep you updated on the successes of Abba House and its plans for 2018. Meanwhile, to learn how you can be a “Community Changer,” visit their website at abbahouse.com or call them at 478-988-0131.
Marsha Priest Buzzell is executive director of the Warner Robins Convention & Visitors Bureau and may be reached at 478-922-5100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.