Monday, February 1, 2010
This past snowy Saturday, tucked away on a two block stretch of old warehouses at Lippincott and 21st streets was a white fold out sign that read "World Outreach" in red letters. Behind the painted wooden sign hung a line of wire upon which several winter coats hung on display. In between the coats was a white door. Just behind its squeaky hinges and down four steep steps was a room tightly packed with clothing racks, glass display cases and boxes. Rev. Roger Riggins stood behind the register, with no heat except his layered clothing and space heater nearby. He hung up his cell phone, rose from his chair and walked to the glass counter with a greeting face.
Rev. Riggins is a 15-year Philadelphia resident and member of the clerical staff at the World of Life Worship Center, in the Allegheny West section of the city. Connected to the church is its Life Outreach Ministries thrift store. Since 1999, every Monday through Saturday, Rev. Riggins and several other workers and volunteers have run the church's secondhand store that sell donated items such as clothes, shoes, kitchen appliances and furniture. The money garnered is used to help missions in the United States and in countries in the Caribbean Islands like Haiti and Jamaica.
"The business has been very productive," said Rev. Riggins. "One thing that [the thrift store] does is it serves the community at large with probably the most reasonable prices in the city."
Rev. Riggins said he thought many people cater to the business because of an increase in financial burdens.
"We usually meet people right where they're at," said the minister of 30 years. "If [a customer] came in, and there was an item and it was $5 and they only had $3, they could get it for the $3."
Although, there were not any customers in the store at the time, Rev. Riggins said the store gets a stable amount of business. He said people from inside and outside of the community, such as college students and costume shoppers, often visit to find one of a kind items.
Running the thrift store is just one part of the Rev. Riggins' mission to do good inside and outside of the community. He works with the church on projects like tree planting and gardening in the community. He also said he will soon be working as ministerial support for members of the Philadelphia Police Department.
"I believe everybody was created for a purpose in this life and I sense that that is a part of my purpose, to help people. If I can just encourage them along the way, or just speak, maybe through prayer just encouraging words, its very beneficial," he said.
"To me that's what the mission is all about, reaching out and helping people," he added. "I love what I do."
By Chesney Davis and Kristina Leon, Group 12, Allegheny and Nicetown-Tioga
Posted by Chesney Davis at 12:50 AM