HOLYOKE "It's nice to know you can make a difference."
That's the sentiment of Christine Burns of Providence Ministries for the Needy, Inc., who among other duties in her role overseeing development and special projects, also spends time assisting customers at the new location of St. Jude's Used Furniture and Furnishings at 390 Main St.
The storefront, which was the former home of City Paper, was generously donated to Providence Ministries by Vinu Patel of Northampton. During the summer, the site was painted and rehabbed through the volunteer efforts of men of Loreto House and Hariston House, according to Burns.
She notes the store is also blessed to have a dedicated group of volunteers to help cover hours, as well as interns from Holyoke Community College's Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development. Interns majoring in human services are receiving college credit as they help Burns with marketing and development ideas to promote St. Jude's. Additionally, interns are also learning valuable insight into human service programs including at Margaret's Pantry, a full-service food pantry that provides both nonperishable and perishable food products to in-need residents, and at Kate's Kitchen, which offers a noontime meal to anyone, 365 days a year.
During a recent early afternoon visit, there was constant foot traffic in and out of the store which features a variety of furniture ranging from bedroom sets, kitchen tables and sofas to chairs, tables and televisions. There are also ample choices of artwork to choose from, as well as rugs, lamps of all shapes and sizes, and baby furniture. A wide variety of home furnishings are also offered, including small appliances, silverware, china sets and decorative centerpieces appropriate for all rooms, as well as glasses, cookware and items for infants.
"All furniture and home goods are sold at a fair, reasonable price," Burns said.
For individuals who enjoy visiting flea markets, Burns said this is one place that area residents should consider browsing.
"We are seeking customers from all walks of life," Burns said, adding, "people just starting out, furnishing a dorm room, small apartment or a cottage, or anyone looking to save money."
Burns also noted that all purchases benefit the critical programming of Providence Ministries, which includes Kate's Kitchen and Kate's Bread Program, Margaret's Pantry, Broderick House and Loreto House. In addition, St. Jude's works with the American Red Cross, churches and other local organizations, to provide free, immediate help to those who have faced sudden tragedy by way of fires and acts of nature.
Since St. Jude's opening on Main Street in August, Burns said she has been "pleased with the traffic coming in through our door."
Burns hopes that word of mouth will spread and more area residents will take the time to stop in and perhaps find a unique item or too of interest to purchase. She also hopes to have more items appropriate for children in the coming months.
"Our inventory is always changing so check us out often," she added.
Store hours are Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m. Appointments can also be made by calling 536-9109. Parking is available in front of the store as well as at the end of the building.
Area residents interested in making donations to St. Jude's should call ahead and Burns noted at this time she is not accepting furniture due to space constraints.