CENTERVILLE, Iowa — You won’t just find clothes, dishes and toys inside a large old car dealership turned thrift store in Centerville. You will also find hope.
“There’s been certain things that I’ve gone through in life where I’ve had no hope and I didn’t realize how important hope in the human life is,” Hope Chest Thrift Store owner Holly Oden said.
All the proceeds from the Hope Chest Thrift Store benefit New Hope Ministry and Counseling Center.
“We’re not professional counseling. It’s a faith-based counseling program that we wrote ourselves,” New Hope Ministry and Counseling Center Executive Director Cindy Farrington said.
It’s a program Oden discovered in her darkest days.
“I had just come out of a very abusive relationship, so I was trying to take little steps. I went to church. I was sitting in the back row hoping they wouldn’t know too much about me because I didn’t know if they would accept me or not,” Oden said.
At first, she turned to the organization to help her oldest son cope with trauma.
“He had black soot on his face and the night before his dad had gone out drinking and drove himself home intoxicated and had lit up a cigarette in the driveway of the farm and burnt to death,” Oden said.
Eventually, she found she needed the ministry, too.
“Cindy was one of my councilors and she was the one that really turned the light on in me that said ‘Holly, I really feel like God could use you to help other people,'” Oden said.
Oden trained to become a counselor, she worked in the children’s ministry, and then she opened the thrift store.
“We started in such a tiny little store area and literally we didn’t have any money at that time to put into it and she literally built it with her own hands,” Farrington said.
Oden’s sister, Sheila Kauzlarich, said she keeps building and giving and is a resource for many in the community.
“Teens that want to join the wrestling club, she pays their membership, she makes sure they have the wrestling shoes or the football shoes,” Kauzlarich said.
The New Hope Ministry and Counseling Center is currently helping 15 people, all who use the services free of charge thanks to profits from the Hope Chest Thrift Store.