People are always looking for something old, something that brings back memories of their childhood, of loved ones, like Grandpa’s old saw or Grandma’s rolling pin, things that take us back in time to a place in our lives that was much simpler and when we felt loved, safe and secure.
However, in a time when baby boomers are downsizing and getting rid of a lot of things that they just don’t have room for any longer, this economizing of space has become a way to earn extra income for people called ‘pickers’ who go from one yard sale, estate sale and garage cleanout to another. Sometimes they have to paint or repair items, but largely they sell them ‘as is’ and pass along a bargain to their customers.
For Lawrence County residents, Casey Coker and Cindy Cantrell, it has turned into a fun and lucrative business. They call it, “2 Chicks a Pickin’” and they spend weekdays scouring the countryside, often driving as far as South Carolina and other interesting places both large and small. In between, the ladies gather items for their booths and auctions and they occasionally do a little sightseeing. Their live and Facebook auctions are online on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
It was through their business that they met Georgia native, Susan Steele. Susan and her husband, Marvin Steele, are retired and have settled in the Mount Hope community, which is where Marvin was born and raised. Cantrell and Coker met Susan through their mutual businesses.
Seven years ago, Susan was led to start a business in the Mount Hope Community called the Mount Hope Community Closet. In 2018 it was incorporated as The Caring Place Community Clothes Closet and Ministry of Hope. It is essentially an outreach to those in need of clothing, home furnishings and small appliances, whatever is needed to survive.
The Caring Place is located in Mount Hope, but serves anyone who comes in the doors. “Everything is free, but we do accept financial donations or donations of goods,” she explained.
“I was led by the Lord to begin this ministry,” she went on. “God laid it on my heart and right away He began to provide for it. Almost immediately there was a house fire just across the county line in Franklin County which wiped out everything for a family of six. We were able to provide them with a trailer and furnishings, clothing, shoes, and appliances,” she said.
The building where the clothes closet is located was built and donated by the late Sam Spruell, a lifelong Mount Hope resident who felt led to be a part of this ministry before passing away suddenly.
From that auspicious beginning the business has grown and has helped scores of families to start over after disasters, to take care of foster children, victims of domestic violence and all too often, to help when their finances don’t last until the end of the month. “Statistics show that some people are living $28 over the poverty level,” she quoted.
“If we don’t have what they need, we go out and purchase it for them,” said Susan.
Since the beginning, God has provided two more trailers and two cars, in addition to the smaller items and clothing. “God always sends what we need, either before it’s needed or shortly afterward,” she said.
The Caring Place does not receive any government or local funding, nor is it affiliated with any specific church, although it does work with churches when needed. They are a non-profit, 501c3 tax deductible, mission based entity.
The Caring Place is open on the second Saturday of each month, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. and by special appointment. Contact information can be found on Facebook, and at the bottom of this article. To contact Susan personally to request or make donations, she can be reached at 678-446-2692.
“While we rely on donations from the community, we also purchase new shoes and clothing items for foster children, domestic violence victims and people who suffer loss during home fires and natural disasters. This will be such a blessing to so many during their time of need,” said Susan.
Her mission statement is, “We strive to seek and serve Christ in all people, to be Christ to them, and treat them as Christ would. Our goal is to assist and encourage all people to achieve self-sufficiency.”
Her ministry has become a place of hope for those who are in crisis and a way for others in the community to give back to them. Donations are welcome and can be picked up by special arrangement.
“We are here to provide a helping hand to individuals and families in need,” she stressed. And there are many in need due to no fault of their own. Some have medical needs due to physical limitations. Others have lost income due to COVID, while many are just struggling to make it from pay check to pay check and need a little assistance from time to time.
“Each family in crisis receives a bag of hygiene products and a suitcase or backpack for each family member, filled with clothes and shoes,” explained Susan. “If we don’t have their sizes we will go out and purchase these items for them.”
These auctions will help provide assistance for those who sometimes have to wonder where they will get clothes and shoes for their children or people who are physically impaired to have what they need to make their lives easier. Many businesses and individuals have already donated to this cause, but others are welcome to donate items or to help financially.
For the energetic ladies at 2 Chicks, it was a labor of love to find items and people willing to donate to this worthy cause. They have selected and donated auction items that are vintage and antique from their own booths and others who have joined will donate specialty items that they feature in their own shops and booths.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to raise money for a great organization that helps our community, The Caring Place and Susan Stanley Steele” said Cindy Cantrell of 2 Chicks a Pickin’.
In addition to 2 Chicks a Pickin’, many other businesses and individuals listed below have donated to the three auctions. One of them is Donna Campbell, who also has a booth at Gillespie’s Flea Market. Campbell specializes in glassware, but has many other trendy items in her booth. Gillespie’s Flea Market manager, Mike Gillespie and several vendors from the flea market will also add to the selection of items to be auctioned.
The auctions will be held in three stages: the first is a silent auction held at The Market, located at 14888 Court Street in Moulton (across from Standard Furniture) from October 19–November 22; and a posted auction on 2 Chicks facebook page on November 10-22; concluding with a live Facebook auction by 2 Chicks on Tuesday, November 23.
People wishing to help can donate auction items through Casey Coker, Cindy Campbell and Susan Steele, at the number provided and through facebook until November 5th. Regular donations and clothes and financial donations can be made to Susan Steele at The Caring Place at any time.
There will be something for everyone in these auctions: antique, vintage, toys, glassware, collectables, handmade items, books, kitchen items, garden and home décor and much more!
Donated items for auction should be clean and neat, in original boxes when possible and in good working order. One hundred percent of the proceeds from all three auctions go directly to The Caring Place.
For more information you may contact Susan Steele at 678-446-2692.