St. Vincent de Paul Mission 27 Resale

I have heard of St. Vincent de Paul for years, but I’ve always associated it with a Catholic charity that takes donated mattresses and furniture and gives them to the poor. Ironically our local St. Vincent de Paul is in a 110-year-old mattress factory on the near eastside of downtown off Southeastern  (about 12 blocks east of Monument Circle). They have been there for many years, picking up donated appliances and furniture and taking them at the building. They have had their doors open to the needy in our community for many years. But I just recently found out they are a lot more than that.
A year ago they opened a resale shop for the public named Mission 27 Resale (on the east end of their building, 132 S. Leota St.) in honor of St. Vincent de Paul’s ministry to the poor and his feast day, September 27. They have done a fabulous job turning this industrial space into quite a showroom. With its exposed brick walls, polished cement floors and open rafter ceiling, it’s the nicest thrift store I’ve ever shopped in. The clothing is displayed like it was in a high-end boutique on industrial spindles and metal piping racks and glass tables, but the prices are really, really great. I saw a Kenneth Cole shirt for $3.99! They have furniture and antiques, household items, dishes and crystal, small appliances,  clothing, shoes, and accessories for the whole family (and they have dressing rooms to try things on). Mission 27 has just added their Christmas items so when I was there recently and I couldn’t resist starting my holiday shopping. Two beautifully carved four-poster beds, sofas, chairs, dining room sets and much more were on display. Their motto is “Good Things for Good Purpose.”TM
I recently got a tour of the whole operation by Darlene Sweeney, the volunteer coordinator. “Ninety-nine percent of all those who work at Mission 27 are volunteers,” said Darlene. She has such energy and enthusiasm for the resale shop and its purpose. All the resale items come in through their dock in the back from donation boxes and from their drivers who pick up appliances and furniture. They sort everything into clothing bins, bric-a-brac, housewares, appliances, furniture or antiques. They wash all the glassware so everything sparkles on the shelf. It’s the most organized, cleanest operation I’ve ever seen. They have a workshop where all the appliances and small electrics are tested, repaired if possible or taken for parts. They use everything possible — no waste.
The main reason for opening this resale shop to the public was two-fold. First they have a food pantry on 30th Street, which is the largest food pantry in the Midwest, serving 3,000 households every week, including 335 shut-ins. Those in need of food fill out a form with their family size and needs and they are given a specific number of points which allows them to shop in this huge pantry for the items they want and need. They even have a free section for paper goods,  and for items like lettuce that need to be used right away. They have produce and meats too. They get most of their food from Gleaners, which is a blessing, but they wanted to be able to have fresh milk and eggs, so the money raised from the resale shop goes to pay for them. The shut-ins get two bags of groceries delivered each  week — one non-perishable and one perishable. The volunteer drivers get to know those they serve and friendships form between recipient and drivers.
The second reason for opening the shop to raise funds is their “Changing Lives Forever” program which offers workshops and classes for those ready to change their lives for the better and stop the cycle of poverty. Whether it be getting their GED, budgeting classes, or getting job skills, the program gives a $25 stipend to those who sign up to help with the cost of transportation to the workshops and for child care. The proceeds from the resale shop go to help with these costs. The program is based on “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’ By World” (AHA Process, Inc.). They also have a health care clinic and legal aid for those in need.
At St. Vincent de Paul, the homeless can stop by on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and pick up needed blankets, coats, and more. They also have a bikes for the homeless program. After learning of the need, Mayor Hogsett had IMPD donate all the bikes they pick up throughout the year that are not claimed. The program has given out 1,700 bikes to the homeless. Fishers Police have started donating to the causes as well. Darlene says, “you should see the faces of those given a bike.” Another Saturday homeless ministry, Beggars for the Poor, loads a van with clothing and a hot meal and distributes them at an inner-city location at the Roberts Park Methodist Church parking lot.
St. Vincent De Paul is in 133 countries and has 900,000 members. Only 7 percent of the monies made go for administration and marketing costs.
Check out this newspaper the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for a 50% off coupon for Black Friday and that Saturday and shop Mission 27 Resale, knowing the money is going to a really good cause. I know I’ll be there finding treasures! Hours are Monday thru Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. To contact them call 317-687-8260 or to volunteer call Darlene at  317-924-5769, ext. 238 or website: