Local pastor and his family running a free thrift store in Toledo

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Generosity is alive and well in our community and this story is a great example of that. Little in this world is free these days, but everything is free at a special open-air store in Toledo.

It is run by a local pastor and his family, and they regularly collect and distribute truckloads of items. They turned the corner of Indiana and Detroit into a free thrift store this summer.

Pastor Andre Cranford and his wife Stacye of the Back2Life Deliverance Center have been in the business of giving away things for over a decade.

“Many churches are busy having church, we want to be busy being the church. We want to be a visible, tangible extension of Jesus’ love,” Pastor Cranford said.

Cranford’s free thrift store used to be busy, but Stacye says they decided to stay at this location all summer.

“People give us things they can’t use or don’t need anymore. Some people also buy things for us because they know we’re not going to sell them. Some people wonder if there’s a problem, but there isn’t. Free means free in our store,” Stacye said.

The store is open every day and Stacye says there are all sorts of things to choose from. “We give clothes, shoes, household items, furniture, toys, food. Everything that is clean and usable, we donate. My husband always says: take what you need, only need what you take,” Stacye said.

Cranford says it’s more than just material things. “I believe people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. So we want to minister to the whole person. If they need food or clothing, we’re there to help, or if they need salvation and healing, that’s fine too,” Cranford said.

A car full of James Smith donations arrived while we were there.

“It’s a very good feeling to know that I don’t have it just for me. It’s about the community, those around us. There are so many needs, so many people who don’t have them. Look around your house, your closet, your garage. You don’t have to go out and buy things,” Smith said. “There are things you can contribute that you are not using to be a blessing to someone else.”

Stacye says the reward at the store is the joy of bringing hope and help to others. “I was telling our kids the other day how good it feels to be the answer to someone’s prayer.” Many prayers have undoubtedly been answered on the corner of Detroit and Indiana this summer,” Stacye said.

The free thrift store is open every day from noon to six. There is also an onsite service at 6:30pm, everyone is welcome at both.

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