Genine Martin believes in the power of prayer and the kindness of strangers.
As proprietor of Pleasantville's On A Mission Thrift Store, located in the former Sid Brooks Furniture Store on South Main Street, Martin has been relying heavily on both lately.
The long, brutally cold winter has strained the resources of much of the area's community service programs while bringing many low income and homeless residents through her doors seeking clothing. As a result, her inventory is near record lows.
"We desperately need men's clothing," Martin, 42, said recently. "Especially sweatpants, sweatshirts and sneakers in large sizes."
The store has been quietly and steadily helping the less fortunate at the site since 2009. Martin said she knows there are many programs and agencies in need of donations, so she tries to avoid public requests. But she wants to make the community aware of the situation.
"We have many homeless men in Pleasantville who come into our store and change into clean clothes. They have to throw away the old clothes because they can't afford to wash them," Martin explained.
Because of this, the thrift store has a hard time keeping a good supply of men's clothing in stock.
She added they also need dishes, eating utensils and household goods of all kinds, for those who have lost their homes and are trying to start over again. The store carries everything needed to furnish a home, including new and used mattresses, bedding, kitchenware and living room furniture.
"Any help we can get will bless us," Martin said.
Martin and On a Mission are involved with local community-service and welfare programs. It is not unusual to have as many as 100 volunteers in a month who are fulfilling their community service obligations by volunteering at the store.
"We are also a part of the welfare program and can help those who get vouchers furnish their homes. They can get a lot more pieces here than they would at a regular store," Martin said.
She also works with clients to make sure they have everything they need, often giving away bags of clothes, pots and pans for free, just to get them started. Martin said it's part of her philosophy of life, her "mission," to help those less fortunate in any way she can.
No one is turned away.
Martin said she recently received a call from an area church that conducted a clothing drive and donated the items to the thrift store. She said she appreciates every donation.
The store offers free furniture pickup for those unable to move it on their own. Staff members will travel as far as Cape May Court House to pick up donations.
Martin hopes someday to provide more than clothing and household goods to help those in need. She said she also sees a great need to feed the hungry, and she is trying to figure out a way for her store to help.
"We're working on it. The power of prayer is awesome," she said.
Contact Lucia C. Drake:
On a Mission
Where: 363 S. Main St., Pleasantville
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Fridays; noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
More info: Call 609-646-4483