The Goodwill Club

Published 10:38 am Monday, August 9, 2010

They call themselves The Three Amigos.

Brenda Bruce, Margie Collins, and Paula Anderson, three of the roughly 160 residents of Sherman Thompson Towers, don’t sit idly watching their days tick by.

They like to make the days of other people brighter.

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Last year, the trio created The Goodwill Club within the confines of the Towers, with a goal of ensuring that shut-ins at the facility, as well as those without family support during the winter holidays, would be treated to Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and fellowship.

That seemingly simple goal suddenly took on a life of its own.

In the past year, The Goodwill Club, which has increased to 28 members, has found itself immersed in various acts of kindness toward others.

Now, they are on a mission to help as many people as they can.

Ed Gullett, of The Shepherd’s Closet, a newly formed organization reaching out to assist the area needy, can attest to the heart of The Goodwill Club.

“They loaded me down,” Gullett laughed, noting that the ladies from Sherman Thompson Towers contacted him about donating to The Shepherd’s Closet. “We could barely fit everything they gave us into my Explorer.”

Those gifts, from dishes and houseware to shoes, books, and clothing, were the overstock from The Goodwill Club’s Free Giveaway, which they now conduct every three months.

“They were awesome,” Gullett said. “What surprised me is they are able to do these kinds of things free of charge for their residents. I think it’s amazing.”

Amazing, yes. But the good deeds of this group extend beyond their fellow residents.

The Free Giveaway, which is a collection of donated items from a variety of people, is open to anyone in need, as are the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

“We told Ed to send anyone who wouldn’t be able to have a Christmas dinner next year to us,” said Collins, who also serves as the assistant manager at the Towers.

Like Gullett, she believes that serving Christ is what life is all about. “My husband (Terry Collins) and I feel like God put us here to help people.”

So far, The Goodwill Club is doing just that.

“We are always looking for ways to give to the community,” Bruce said.

Aside from the Free Giveaway and holiday dinners, which include gifts for all residents at Christmas, the club has recently begun a food drive to feed the hungry and also reaches out to those in nursing homes to offer encouragement.

They organize bake sales and rummage sales, dinners, and raffles throughout the year to fund what has become a quite massive undertaking.

And recently, at Anderson’s urging, they organized Christmas in July, complete with a tree, decorations, and gifts. “People said we were crazy for having Christmas in the summer,” Collins laughed. “But everyone enjoyed it.”

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, The Goodwill Club cooks up lunches to fund their noble pursuits. “We usually sell out,” Bruce laughed, noting that this month’s entrée, cooked mostly by her husband, Tim, included a choice of chicken and noodles or beef and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, roll, and dessert.

The cost for the meal is $5.

The trio noted that A&L Homecare is a consistent donor to their pursuits, and that other local businesses also donate during the holiday season.

They welcome the assistance of anyone who shares their vision of helping those whom most of society has forgotten.

“I’m a Christian and am not ashamed to let people know,” Collins said, defining her desire to assist the less fortunate.

“Everybody, Christians and non-Christians alike, need to draw closer, help each other and do whatever it takes to keep our little corner of the world a nice, safe, happy place.”

And that sums up the mindset of these, now 28, Amigos.

For information about other Goodwill Club ventures, or to pre-order a monthly meal, contact Bruce at (740) 532-8089 or (740) 237-2200.

To contact Gullett at The Shepherd’s Closet, call (740) 550-2474.