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Retirees start effort to offer low-cost items

Working folks to get a break with ministry

POSTED: February 14, 2009 12:06 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Fellowship with Food Ministry volunteer Gustav Sandoval moves in several motor bikes for sale Friday afternoon at the new thrift store at 203 Atlanta Highway as items are collected and moved in place for the store's opening Wednesday.

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GeeGe and London Goldman were restless retirees in Gatlinburg, Tenn., before they moved to Gainesville.

"We were bored," GeeGe Goldman said. "Don’t ever retire."

So the couple, who volunteered often in Tennessee, packed up and moved to Gainesville, where they are starting a ministry offering low-cost food, clothing, household appliances and furniture to people who work but need help making ends meet.

The Goldmans will open Fellowship with Food Ministry, located on Atlanta Highway, to the public Wednesday.

"We are here to meet the needs of working people, but there are no qualifications for our food ministry," GeeGe Goldman said.

The Goldmans are piling up donations at the former location of Top Line Fashions next to Emmanuel Baptist Church. Open Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., the ministry will provide basic needs at reduced prices to help working families stretch their dollars.

The new Gainesvillians said Larry Gee, chairman of the Board of Trustees at Emmanuel Baptist, was instrumental in making their ministry dream a reality.

London Goldman said they aim to offer minimal grocery items at nearly half price.

"A lot of people who are working think there is no help for them. Our program helps them for less," GeeGe Goldman said. "... My goal is to help keep their self-esteem up. They will buy these things, but they’ll just cost less."

London Goldman said he also hopes to start a backpack ministry for Gainesville schools to provide students who receive free school meals with food to take home.

The Goldmans said they saw a need in Gainesville for a low-cost ministry for the working class, especially in the Hispanic community.

"I chose to be in the heart of the Spanish community because they’re no different than our great-great-grandparents who came to this country to better themselves," GeeGe Goldman. "We want to minister to all."



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