MISSION Makers Thrift Store Closed image

Community Unites to Support Local Thrift Store Ministries

Mission Makers


The King’s Home, The Foundry, Vapor Ministries, the Lovelady Center and Sozo Children run thrift stores in the Birmingham area to raise funds for their ministries and to serve families with affordable clothes and furniture. Due to the coronavirus, all of them have been forced to cease store operations as non-essential businesses. “This not only deprives low-income communities of bargains, but also eliminates the income the ministries receive from their sales. This income is vital to cover their operating expenses for the other services they provide to our community,” explains Tom Bradford, President of the National Christian Foundation (NCF) Alabama.

Bradford came up with a creative way the community could help. “The idea is to not only get some immediate cash to these ministries, but also do something to generate traffic when they can re-open,” says Bradford who set a goal to raise at least $100,000 in 10 days to purchase gift cards from the thrift stores to be redeemed when they re-open. The thrift store ministries agreed to sell the gift cards for 50% of value so that $100,000 would generate $200,000 in gift cards. The thrift stores will then distribute the gift cards through their current network of churches and ministries that they serve. “If, for example, they give them out in $25 increments, $200,000 will generate 8,000 shoppers once they re-open,” explains Bradford.

A special fund has been set up at NCF called “Alabama Covid-19 Relief Fund” and a link has been established so those who wish to can donate on line. Donations can also be made by check to the National Christian Foundation Alabama, 400 Office Park Drive, Birmingham, AL 35223.  Be sure to write “COVID 19” on the memo line of the check. NCF will provide donors with a tax receipt.

Under the leadership of Kevin Moore, Area Director of Mission Increase Central Alabama, an advisory committee will administer the funds and send checks to the thrift store ministries. “None of the money will go to Mission Increase or NCF for fees – 100% will go to the thrift stores,” explains Bradford. As of April 20, 2020 more than $100,000 has been raised and most of that has already been distributed out to the five ministries. Donations are still needed.

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