Founded in October 2013 as a mission of Villa Rica First United Methodist Church, Two Shirts Thrift Store has helped provide low-cost, quality merchandise to the community. The location moved to South Carroll Street near the end of 2016 and has served thousands of families by responding to everyday and emergency needs. 2 Shirts also supports multiple charities including the Villa Rica Mission Alliance, Villa Rica Homeless, the Fullerville Mission, and the nearby Atlanta homeless community.
You might ask who is the driving spirit behind Two Shirts. Well, it’s Nancy Wise, who cheerfully states, “How do you know if your mission on earth is finished? If you’re alive, it isn’t! Now isn’t that something? What a powerful statement!”
For thirty years Nancy taught children dealing with emotional and behavioral disorders. She says, “I’ve always had a heart for the underdog, but I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to open a thrift store. I had zero retail business experience.” She discusses with us how Two Shirts really started years ago in her former town of Clarkesville, Georgia. Nancy elaborated, “My church then, Clarkesville First United Methodist Church, opened a community thrift store. We were open every Saturday, and since I was still teaching, I volunteered a couple Saturdays a month.”
She mentioned that one of the last things she did before moving from Clarkesville to Villa Rica that really helped build her faith in the way of service was to go on a Walk to Emmaus, which is a three-day, faith-building retreat. Emmaus pilgrims are encouraged to figure out on their fourth day what they can do to serve Jesus. Nancy says, “I didn’t know how life changing this would be until I ended up in Villa Rica. Nine years ago our town didn’t have a thrift store, so I decided to start one through VRFUMC. I needed a name for the store and one day I read Luke 3:11. I knew instantly that this was the perfect name and perfect verse for our thrift store –”If you have two shirts, share with someone who has none, and if you have food, share with someone who is hungry.”
In the years up to now, Two Shirts has given over $110,000 to the community and church. They support not only local missions but also the church budget, building fund, and other missions. They respond to families who are victims of fire, flood, or domestic abuse, with clothes, household goods, or back-to-school items and donate clothes and household items to all the local missions mentioned in the paragraphs above.
You might be asking yourself how do I serve with Two Shirts? One of the volunteers, Pam Walker of Villa Rica explains, “After months of volunteering at the store my whole perspective on the store has changed: It’s so much more than a retail business that gives money back to the church. The real work of Two Shirts is about loving our neighbors and connecting with our community. If a customer doesn’t have the money for a blouse, that’s OK. She can take one home along with the knowledge that we care about her and that she will be in our prayers. Unlike a typical store, some of our customers come by just to talk to the staff, sharing the good times as well as the sad times in their lives. Even on busy days, we always have time to listen and provide Christian fellowship to those who enter. After all, a picture of Jesus with the title of “Our CEO” hangs behind the cash register in the store. What better CEO can you have as we seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus?”
Rob Smith, Branch Manager for Crye-Leike Realty in Villa Rica, also serves through 2 Shirts and shares a little about his service as he has also taken the Walk to Emmaus, “My life and my real estate business are built out of my passion to be of service to the families and people I work with, so serving at this mission is just a natural fit for me.”
Nancy, Pam, Rob, and all who serve through 2 Shirts wanted to share a few verses of scripture that illustrate the purpose of Two Shirts:
Matthew 25: 34-40 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “The righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Visit Two Shirts Thrift Store at 225 S Carroll Rd, Villa Rica, GA 30180 and LIKE them on Facebook by clicking here.