It’s a busy morning in the Thrift Shop at Nazareth. Members of the Purchasing Department stop by to pick up excess items to deliver at St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill (when there is too much for the Thrift Ship it is donated). Sisters stop by to shop. An employee pops in for something for her mother to wear. A few Nazareth Village residents drop by to take a look at the newest items. One resident is returning an item recently purchased. Martha Clan, SCN, who runs the Thrift Shop, takes a look at the item.

“Oh this has a hole in it, I’ll take it back. It’s the hem coming down right on the seam. I’ll take it right up to the sewing machine and put it back together.”

Sister Martha tends to do that quite a bit. Besides the hours she puts in at the Thrift Shop, Sister Martha spends as much time outside of the Thrift Shop, washing and repairing items, readying each for the store.

SCNs Delores Greenwell (left) and Martha Clan have been at the Thrift Shop for 15 years.

Delores Greenwell, SCN, has also helped to run the Thrift Shop for the past 15 years.

The Thrift Shop takes in an average of $200 a month which is then donated to SCNs Janice Richards and Paula Merrill on alternating months. Sister Janice and Sister Paula serve in separate ministries, both in Mississippi.

“They’re happy to get it because they work directly with the poor,” Sister Martha said.

Sister Martha says she sees the Thrift Shop as a ministry. It is a form of recycling, reusing and re-purposing. It provides inexpensive items to those who work and live at Nazareth. Donations come from Sisters and employees who bring in a variety of items. When a Sister dies it serves as a place to take her belongings while raising funds. A donation of items recently came from an employee who brought in her deceased mother’s clothing and a Bardstown resident who donated some of his deceased wife’s belongings.

“He said he wanted to send them somewhere where he knew they would be taken care of,” Sister Martha explained.

Sister Martha and Sister Delores have found ways to recycle other items in the shop: extra clothes hangers are donated to a local dry cleaner and empty shoe boxes are sent to Sister Miriam Ann Walter who uses them to store stamps. Extra winter coats are given to the homeless in the Louisville area.

Between the coats, purses, shoes, and more, shoppers find plenty of bargains. At times, the goods at the Thrift Shop may be a little too tempting, as one Sister is overheard, teasing another, “You don’t need anything. Stay out of that shop!”

With Sister Delores’ and Sister Martha’s superb management of the shop and the money raised, it’s a worthwhile habit.