Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The Soul Hospital in Ooltewah feeds the soul with scripture, while the adjacent Thrift Store Heaven clothes those in need.
Coming up July 28 at 10 a.m., the thrift store’s grand opening will begin with soft drinks, popcorn, food and music at its 921 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road location. In the same spot on Aug. 5, the church will hold its grand opening beginning at 11 a.m. Both the church and thrift store are already open.
“Through the thrift store we want to help needy families, single parents and children in the area,” said The Soul Hospital youth minister Shawn Roberts, a resident of Highway 58. “Money made goes to help the church host recovery groups and to help people in need. We will have Bible studies, divorce recovery and drug/alcohol recovery groups for people in need.”
He said the thrift store is a nonprofit ministry of The Soul Hospital. Tax-deductible donations are accepted. The store showcases clothing, toys, shoes, furniture, appliances, computers, TVs, figurines and home decor.
“We will be running sales monthly,” said Roberts. “For example, one week we will have 50 percent off shoes and another week we will have half off clothing. Every week something will be marked down. We sell many items for 50 cents up to $2.”
He said the main idea is to help people and to serve the Lord. No one is turned away that has a need.
“My theory is we can fund the church plant through the thrift store,” said The Soul Hospital pastor John Ledford. “Our church will be open every day of the week. We are setting up shop and looking forward to meeting the Ooltewah community.”
Roberts assisted in the children’s ministry at Spring Creek Baptist Church, while Ledford served as associate pastor there prior to the planting of The Soul Hospital. Roberts said he felt called to lead the youth at The Soul Hospital. His wife Stacey is the church secretary and Ledford’s wife Zina is the worship leader.
“After growing up in a single-parent, divorced home, I felt called by God into the ministry to help youth going through what I went though as a youth,” said Roberts, who grew up in Chattanooga with limited resources and now works for FedEx.
He said the church’s leaders plan to get more involved at East Hamilton School and Ooltewah Middle and High schools this fall by attending football games and helping out as needed. The Soul Hospital leaders cleaned up and planted flowers at the local Veterans Memorial Park and Ooltewah Middle School campus last spring, according to him.
“We are a church for all people to come as you are,” said Roberts. “John preaches what’s on his heart. It’s very friendly and family-oriented. One of our key leaders, Glenda Flores, signs in church and can translate in Spanish as well.”