A group of women from the Harvest Family Christian Church who have a vision to help those in need were inspired to start the 'Harvest Free Gift Store' inside the country church in the Groveland area.
Lisha Lee, the group's ministry leader, said the store has been open since October and has already provided furniture, appliances, clothing and other household goods to many families in the community who really needed the items.
Lee, a mother of four who moved to Blackfoot from Utah one year ago, said, "We saw a need in the community. Many of us have been in need ourselves at some point in our lives and we thought this would be a great way for people to get rid of items they don't use anymore and help others get what they need."
Lee said that the store has been so well received by the community with people offering generous donations of used goods that church members are planning to expand the store to make room for more merchandise.
Lee praised church pastors Ken and Ronda Lackner and volunteers Jamie Melendez, Penny West, Jaimie Irwin, Molly Brower and Sheri Brower for volunteering their time to help keep the store stocked and organized, saying, "We couldn't do this without the help of the volunteers who sacrifice their time."
Those who may need items can call and make an appointment to come into the store. Appointments are usually scheduled for Thursday evenings. Lee said no proof of income and no explanation of anyone's life situation is required to get help. Lee also accepts referrals from Blackfoot's SEICAA (Southeast Idaho Community Action Agency).
Lee said that she also receives numerous phone calls from people looking for food and hopes to be able to provide food boxes for the hungry in the near future.
"It's our mission to help struggling families," she added. "There have been house fires in the area, incidents of domestic violence, etc...we are here to help those families out."
Lee welcomes volunteers, donations of gently used goods, or anyone who can help by providing food.
Anyone in need or able to help in any way can call Lee at 208-346-3221.