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Morgan City non-profit thrift store in need of volunteers

Posted at 11:55 PM, Jun 18, 2024

ST. MARY PARISH — “Take what you need and leave what you can,” is the motto one Morgan City non-profit thrift store lives by.

Oscar Livings frequents the non-profit thrift store Paying It Forward, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, whenever it's open.

"Once a week, they're only open once a week,” Livings said,

Livings who is now retired said the store is his go-to place for buying affordable items for his family members.

"I'm a great-grandfather now,” Livings said.

“I got a great grand baby so I'm looking for stuff for her, sometimes my sister or my brother, whoever in my family or whatever it is that day I think they might want."

This time he was buying a ring for his wife, who is currently in a nursing home due to a stroke. Owner June Mire is helping him out.

"It's like my family,” Mire said.

“We get to know the customers, you know they meet me somewhere at Walmart, they recognize me, and it's just I don't know I love it. It's in my heart, my soul."

Mire who is now 75-years-old runs the shop alongside volunteers Diana Pace, Elizabeth Mayon and Donna Bucci.

She first began helping the community in the 1980s and would use her house as a store where people would donate or pick up items.

Today, she and her volunteers pick up donated items door-to-door throughout the city.

“We start at 50 cents,” Mire said. “And I think the most expensive thing might be $5."

Mire takes leftover money from the sold items after she pays the store’s bills to fill up a “blessings box” outside the shop. The box contains non-perishable foods and hyigiene products. She said it's often empty within five minutes.

But in recent years Mire was forced to reduce store hours due to a lack of volunteers.

"We did it before, when we had help we would stay open more, we're trying to do one Saturday a month,” Mire said. “But volunteers is our main problem."

With a lack of volunteers, another issue arises.

Mire has only four days out of the month to make sure their sales can cover rent and utilities. If they don’t have the funds she covers the bills herself.

"I do worry that you know one of us gets real sick, or we can't afford to pay the bills month after month,” Mire said. “Then yeah we're gonna have to close. I mean I have no choice."

Mire is hoping within the next 10 years, younger generations will serve the community in her shop.

“I hope for some younger people to come in, and maybe step up and continue this, because I think our community could use this,” Mire said. “I think we’re a blessing to the community because people come in and they’ll buy $10 worth of 50-cent clothes for their kids or grandkids.”

But one thing is for certain, Livings will be returning next week.

"Where can you find some shoes like this for a dollar?” Livings asked.

If you are interested in donating or becoming a volunteer, click the link to the non-profit’s Facebook group.