Brother’s Keeper ministers to students through no-charge thrift shop

 

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – A Southwestern Gold Card can be just that—gold. With a seminary Gold Card—the card students and spouses receive in the student center after registering for classes—families can visit the Brother’s Keeper house and find clothing and household items they need for free.

The house operates like a campus thrift store, except it is more than thrifty; it’s free. Each family can take five adult items, 10 child items and a reasonable amount of needed household items each time they shop in the store.

“I tell them that pretty much if they can carry it, they can take it, [when it comes to household items],” said Brother’s Keeper Coordinator Heidi Mizell.

A crew of eight volunteers runs the Brother’s Keeper ministry, which accepts donations of gently used items throughout the year. Mizell said the ministry often receives donations of high quality items from stores such as Anne Taylor and The Limited. Volunteers sort through incoming donations and organize them in the Brother’s Keeper house so that students can shop for their specific needs. Students can find anything from men’s suits and maternity clothes to baby clothes, toys, and toasters. And if the house does not have one particular item, students can write what they need on an index card and post it on a bulletin board in the entryway of the house.

This vital but sometimes overlooked ministry is all part of an effort to make sure no student lacks the basic essentials for living—an effort Deanna Williams, wife of Associate Dean of the College at Southwestern Lee Williams, says led her to begin volunteering with Brother’s Keeper several years ago.

“The reason that I do it is because there’s a need, and it’s something that we can do to meet that need,” Williams said. “You try to find something that matches your abilities, so I can smile at people when they’re coming in, and I can hang stuff in the right places.”

Mizell said the Brother’s Keeper ministry has been able to bless many families who follow the Lord’s call to Southwestern, including those who leave everything behind to do so.

“There was one family that literally loaded up their car and came with nothing,” Mizell said.

Williams said helping to outfit families with the things they need allows them to concentrate on their studies.

“This way they don’t have to worry about, ‘Am I going to have sheets on my bed? Or a plate to eat off? Or a coat to keep me warm?’ And they can focus on what they came here to do,” Williams said.

Williams also suggested that students who have accepted preaching assignments for Revive This Nation, check at Brother’s Keeper for suits and ties as they prepare to travel to their respective churches.

Brother’s Keeper, located at 4844 Stanley Avenue, is open from 10 a.m. – noon on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, except July, and Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. The ministry is currently accepting both donations and new volunteers. Those with donations for Brother’s Keeper can drop off items to volunteers during open hours. For questions about donating to, shopping in, or volunteering with Brother’s Keeper, contact Heidi Mizell at (817) 923-1921, ext. 7200.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas