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Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation Donates Thrift Shop Building to Emergency Shelter Group

Monday May, 10th 2021

May 10, 2021…DECATUR – The Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation will donate the building that has housed the DMH Thrift Shop for more than three decades to a local nonprofit organization that offers support to homeless women and children.

“The thrift shop was closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, and we took the opportunity to reevaluate Foundation and Auxiliary functions; we ultimately made a decision to streamline our focus to what we do best at Decatur Memorial Hospital, which is patient care,” said Julie Bilbrey, executive director of the Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation. “When we began conversations with God’s Shelter of Love, we knew they were a perfect fit as they are already in the thrift store business, operating Blessingdale’s Thrift Store as a main source of revenue to support their local programming.”

God’s Shelter of Love offers emergency shelter to homeless women and children. Food, clothing, advocacy, case management, financial counseling and pastoral care are available to those in need through the group’s crisis intervention programs.

Proceeds from the thrift shop were used by the Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation to support special projects, update equipment and provide patient care at the hospital. The building containing the thrift shop, located at 553 W. Wood St., was donated to Decatur Memorial Hospital by Merrill and Margery “Sis” Lindsay in 1992.

“In deciding what to do with the thrift shop, it was important we honored the original intent of the Lindsay family’s donation, which was to generate funding in support of needed services in our community,” Bilbrey said. “We met with Lucy Lindsay Smith [daughter of the Lindsays], and she was supportive of our decision, stating everything serves a purpose and runs its course.”

“This gift to God’s Shelter of Love certainly honors my parents’ original intent,” Smith said.

Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation will donate not only the building to God’s Shelter of Love, but the building’s contents as well. God’s Shelter of Love will host a ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 11, to celebrate the donation from Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation. The ribbon cutting is open to the public.

“The gifting of the DMH Thrift Shop is a godsend and a game-changer for God’s Shelter of Love,” said Dan Watkins, executive director of God’s Shelter of Love. “The addition of the new thrift store, which will be named ‘Help and Hope Mission Market,’ affords us the opportunity to take our mission of providing help and hope to women and children in crisis to another level.”

Watkins said the organization hopes to use the new space to teach clients skills, such as rug-making and furniture refinishing. The group also anticipates using the building for internet sales staging, to store excess inventory and as a discount thrift store open on the weekends.

The Decatur Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is a nonprofit organization of volunteers dedicated to upholding and advancing the mission of Decatur Memorial Hospital. In its 67-year history, members of the Auxiliary have raised and contributed more than $7.6 million to Decatur Memorial Hospital.

“Auxiliary members remain an active asset to our hospital and continue to raise funds for the Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation through their work at the DMH Gift Shop and by hosting book, craft and bake sales,” Bilbrey said. “We are truly grateful for the nearly 300 Auxiliary members who have logged more than 25,000 volunteer hours to support our mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve.”