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It's still the season for giving
Donations after Christmas offer hope, sense of purpose to those in need
Brenda Mondragon hangs up recently donated clothing at the Potter’s House Thrift Store in Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed

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The Christmas season brought presents, cheer and joy to many on Tuesday; however, for one group, Christmas brought hope, donations and a sense of purpose for those in need.

The Atlanta Mission organization at its Gainesville thrift store welcomed new and old stuff alike after Christmas.

Donations made will be sold in the store, as well as given to many of the shelters the mission helps with.

According to manager Christine Portuese, the store hadn’t seen a lot of donations leading into Christmas, but since Christmas, the store has been “blessed” with a busy day like Saturday.

“This has been great. We’ve been getting lots of clothes, accessories, household items, furniture, a lot of things that we haven’t been getting, which will help us with the proceeds to go to the shelters,” Portuese said.

She said in talking to the people donating items, some of their reasons for donating have been new items at Christmas and getting rid of the older stuff.

Or, people are just cleaning out and hoping someone else will benefit from the donation.

“We’ve got a lot people just saying ‘we’ve cleaned out and we aren’t using it and hopefully someone else can get some use out of it,’” she said.

“Or, we can sell it and do good with the proceeds. I’m hoping the new year will bring more.”

For some at the thrift store, volunteering and helping take in the donations have given them a new perspective and a chance to make a difference.

“People donate to help the mission. God wants you to give,” said volunteer Demetrius Evans.

“Christ gave from the heart, and also, (the thrift store) is able to usher stuff back out to the community. We were told (Saturday) was going to be one of the busiest days of the year, and yeah, pretty busy since we got here at like 9 this morning, it’s been going.”

Evans also said Saturday was his first day volunteering at the Gainesville location. He’s also volunteered at the Winder location.

Another person volunteering was Denis Bachman. Bachman, 23, from Atlanta, has been touched by the organization personally, and said it feels good to give back.

“It makes me feel good, valued, because a lot of us came in broken into the mission, here. It feels good to give back. It means a lot,” he said.

“(Atlanta Mission) not only supports the community, but also women and children, and men are afflicted with the pandemic of addiction. I’m struggling with that one myself. (Atlanta Mission) being a Christian ministry, it’s very powerful. This is my first time in the Gainesville location. I’ve been in the Winder, Commerce and the Athens locations. It’s good opportunity to minister and really let people know what they’re supporting.”

The Gainesville thrift store is at 328 Oak St.

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