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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Thrift Store Supports Loaves & Fishes Ministry

By K.J. WEBB
Contributing Writer

STEVE WORDEN: Worden manages the Turning Point Thrift Store, which serves to accept donated items in support of the Loaves & Fishes Ministry.



Tulsa’s Loaves & Fishes food ministry was established in 1983 by Milo and Marian Reno to help feed the poor. Milo had also long dreamed of opening a thrift store to supplement finances for the Loaves & Fishes food ministry, and as a way to reach out and serve more in need in the community.

The dream of a thrift store was realized in May 2016, when the Renos, along with Steve Worden and Al Poncel, officially opened Turning Point Thrift Store, a 501©3 organization, located at 11403-C E. 19th St. in Tulsa in the building next to Loaves & Fishes. The Turning Point Thrift Store serves a three-fold purpose: to meet the immediate need of Loaves & Fishes guests, provide a source of affordable items to the community, and raise additional income so Loaves & Fishes food ministry can serve more people. The Turning Point Thrift Store collects donated items from the community and resells them to raise revenue for the ministry and advance its mission.

The Loaves & Fishes mission is to feed the spirit, soul and body of those in need. “Loaves & Fishes gives food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, and speaks the Gospel to everyone who enters our doors,” says Worden, “While we temporarily satisfy people’s basic needs, our true purpose is to provide them with the permanent answer to their problems: Jesus Christ. In John 6:35, Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Worden says the staff’s hope is that every person who steps through the Loaves & Fishes doors is saved, healed, and delivered. “We pray for healing from sickness and disease, and command debt and financial pressures to dissolve.” According to Worden, many people leave positively changed, built up in faith, and trusting God for their life circumstances to improve.

The Loaves & Fishes food ministry, and Turning Point Thrift Store rely heavily on volunteers. Worden says, “Building a volunteer base can be difficult at times. We are always in need of volunteers, even if they can come for just two hours a week or month. We encourage families to come and serve together.” 

He adds, “With more people helping, we can be open more days of the week, and sort through the donations and merchandise. It is important to keep good inventory rotating on the shelves and presented in a pleasing manner to our customers.” Worden has an insider’s understanding of the importance of merchandising, as he comes from a retail background of over 30 years, primarily in the retail drug industry.

Worden, who volunteered for Loaves & Fishes for 10 years, prior to joining the ministry team, has witnessed many lives transformed through its work. He said, “Lives are transformed every week that the Loaves & Fishes doors are open. The Turning Point Thrift Store is proud to be a part of this because we help provide finances for this to be possible. The ministry helps the working poor, elderly and disabled. We are here to partner with our guests to help them through a difficult financial time due to unemployment, sickness or even transportation problems. It is not uncommon to help someone, or a family four or five times and not see them again because they have successfully overcome their difficulties.”

Worden says the goal for the thrift store is to raise enough money to help purchase a larger building for the Loaves & Fishes food ministry. “With the thrift store and donations by ministry partners we could purchase a building which will enable us to combine our operations into one location, enabling us to serve more in need.”

For more information, see www.loavesandfishes.net, www.facebook.com/turningpointstore, contact Steve Worden at 918-234-8574 ext. 5, or email steve@loavesandfishes.net.

The Turning Point Thrift Store is open every Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Donations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Updated 12-18-2018

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