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For more than a year, Spencer County residents Jason Cox and Chad Goodlett have envisioned starting a Christian ministry that meets the needs of the community’s most struggling individuals and families by providing clothing, appliances and furniture at low or no cost to the those in need.
Goodlett, pastor of First Assembly of God Church, and Cox, a Redemption Hill Baptist Church deacon, are now seeing what they believe was an idea laid upon their hearts by God come to fruition through the Love My Neighbor clothing and household goods store. The store, targeted to open sometime in late December, will be located in the old Bullfrog Nursery building off Ky. 55 next to Citizens Union Bank.
It will provide low-cost clothing, furniture, appliances and more to those working to survive on a tight budget — but for those with an immediate need and the inability to pay, the items will be provided for free.
“This just kind of happened,” Cox said, noting that God has opened his eyes to the needs of his Spencer County neighbors. “God was working in the big picture.”
Goodlett said his church already operated a clothes closet in its basement, but the setup was not ideal and the church was running out of room.
“Our goal was to have a store as a community ministry,” he said.
Four area churches have now partnered in getting Love Thy Neighbor off the ground, including First Assembly, Redemption Hill Baptist, Spencer Christian Church and First Baptist Church of Taylorsville. Cox said any community church that shares the ministry’s Biblical motto of first loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength and loving others above oneself is invited to become a part of Love My Neighbor.
Love My Neighbor also hopes to offer direct connections to financial counseling, cooking on a budget classes, minor home repairs and more through the ministry’s church partnerships.
Cox said the Love My Neighbor ministry is not the work of just two people or one church. He said it is much bigger than that.
“This is a project that we are doing on behalf of Jesus,” he said.
The story of Love My Neighbor – which recently became an incorporated ministry and is seeking non-profit status – became even more inspiring when Cox explained how he and Goodlett acquired the ministry’s building space.
Cox said he was interested in leasing the building next to CUB Bank, which previously housed a nursery, and learned that the bank owned it. Cox approached CUB’s Spencer Market Executive Vice President Sammy Crafton about leasing prices and was almost immediately offered the building rent-free, as a gesture of community service on CUB’s behalf.
“We decided to go ahead and let them use the property,” Crafton said. “This is something that we wanted to do as far as giving back to the community. We hope that it will help a lot of people that need it.”
Cox and Goodlett were both adamant that Love My Neighbor was inspired by God and would be successful only with community and church support. Cox said community donations of gently used clothing, furniture, and working second-hand small and large appliances would be imperative to the store’s success.
The store’s employees will be volunteers from Love My Neighbor’s partner churches.
Goodlett said shoppers would also be an important part of the store’s success, as there will be a few overhead expenses associated with running the store. He noted that the store will be open to anyone to shop. Those unable to pay will need to share their direct need with a Love My Neighbor volunteer and a minimal amount of paperwork will need to be filled out.
Volunteers are working to ready the building, which will eventually be the drop-off site for donations. Cox and Goodlett asked that anyone who has donations to please try to hold on to them for just a couple more weeks as the store is prepared. Anyone who has items that must be moved immediately can arrange pickup by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Store hours have not yet been determined, but Cox said the goal is to have the store open Mondays-Saturdays.
Anyone with questions about Love My Neighbor or local churches looking to get involved can also direct questions to the above email address.