YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD HEROES: Hamilton woman donates time and heart to those in need | Features
HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - In an economy that sometimes leaves very little out of pocket expense to give to those in need, one Hamilton woman has found a way to make a heavy impact.
Debbie Hurd of Hamilton is carving out her legacy to a community of people with little hope of the American dream. Debbie along with her husband of 30 years Sonny, are founders of the Lighthouse Ministries Church on Ridgelawn Avenue in Hamilton.
Like many community churches, Lighthouse Ministries supports and runs a food pantry that gives away bags of food and supplies to the less fortunate. In 2010, local non- profits that helped fund the pantries efforts cut back by 50 percent. The Lighthouse Pantry was left with little money to buy food and supplies.
Debbie, 56, knew she could do something to keep the pantry shelves stocked. That is where she got the idea to open a store and sell everything from clothes to furniture. And as for profit, the money made on sales would go towards buying food and supplies for the church pantry.
“I knew that this is what I had to do, to make sure that nobody who come to us gets turned away."
"I never had anything growing up. After I was married and pregnant with my first child, I would go to an organization called Sisters of the Poor to get food and I almost felt ashamed. That really marked me. I knew if I ever got in the position to help people, I would."
Lighthouse Ministries Thrift store has been a yearlong labor of love for Debbie. She found the vacant space on Dixie Highway in less than desirable conditions. Debbie devoted sometimes 60 hours a week to making the store a place where people feel welcome.
"I'm not a quitter and sometimes I felt like quitting here." But, Debbie did not quit.
When the time came to stock the store, Debbie looked towards area neighborhoods for help. The store has been stocked thanks to the generous donations of the community.
"I created flyers and went out into the neighborhoods and asked anyone I could to donate."
Debbie held a soft opening for Lighthouse in April, but a large grand opening celebration is planned for Saturday, July 9. The opening for Lighthouse Ministries Thrift Store is looking to be a grand affair with plenty of family fun activities.
There will be a car show, face painting, pony rides, a corn hole tournament, food and live music. One band hitting the stage is hometown favorite, Blessid Union of Souls.
Debbie wants anyone who comes to the store to walk away knowing that every little bit counts.
Debbie, Sonny and a congregation of just 100 people are in this for the long haul. They support Lighthouse Kids, which gives out Christmas gifts to around 1000 kids each year and give free clothing and supplies burn-out victims.
"This is something that my heart beats with. I was there... I know how hard it is out there... So I give back."
Hours for the Lighthouse Ministries Thrift Store are Monday-Saturday, 10am-7pm. The store is located at 2570 Dixie Highway inside Hamilton Plaza.
For more information call 513-737-1444 or 513-257-4569. Lighthouse Ministries Thrift store can also be found on Facebook!
Who are Your Neighborhood heroes? Who is making a difference no matter how big or small in your community? Send us their information at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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