SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– The Free Store Ministry is a faith-based non-profit in Lebanon, created two decades ago.
“The main reason that we do this, and that The Free Store Ministry exists at all, is to share the love of Jesus,” said Sammie Brakebill, co-organizer of Free Store Ministry.
Free Store Ministry holds various programs throughout the year that aim to meet educational, physical and spiritual needs, their website says. The group offers assistance to families who need it most.
“It’s important for parents to have the dignity to come and shop for their kids,” said Brakebill.
Brakebill says this makes parents the heroes come Christmas morning.
“The community provides everything here,” said Brakebill. “We just get to be the ones that help give it out.”
Brakebill calls this the best job ever.
“We get to be in the middle and we get to help the parents find it,” said Brakebill. “The parents get to be the ones that give it to their kids on Christmas morning…it’s incredible.”
Brakebill says The Free Store Ministry is actually three generations strong.
“I started when I was 11 and now I have a daughter who’s nine and she’s helping,” said Brakebill.
“I’m just like going through the stuffed animals helping people,” said Izzie Brakebill.
Families also have an opportunity to receive food assistance.
“We have all kinds of people who come through here,” said Schneider. “Low-income, disability, older folks, young folks even. It’s just a great joy to be able to provide for them.”
The Free Store Ministry operates on a 100% volunteer basis.
“The Lord provides all of this,” said Schneider. “The community comes together, provides the money and you know volunteers come in….”
Brakebill walks through Free Store Ministry’s preparation process.