BRADENTON — It was on a mission trip to India nearly five years ago that Chuck Kennedy, senior pastor of Faith International Christian Center, discovered young children living on the streets.
His trip inspired the beginning of Joel Children’s Home, an orphanage where children could live, learn and be clothed and fed. “In this case we felt like the children’s home was a great need,” said Kennedy, who travels abroad at least once a year doing Christian mission work.
Faith International Christian Center, 7409 Manatee Ave. W., has supported Joel Children’s Home since it began. Early in August, the church opened the Once Again Book and Thrift Store, 3014 Cortez Road, Bradenton, in an effort to continue that support, as well as fund other church missions and help people in the local community, Kennedy said.
A store grand opening is planned 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday, with free hot dogs and door prizes.
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The store was named Once Again following the suggestion of one the members who attends Faith International Christian Center, Kennedy said.
“That’s what it is, once again,” he said. “The items are second hand.”
The primary goal of the thrift store is to make enough money to buy clothing, books, food and other necessities each month for the Joel Children’s Home, said Kennedy. Some of the funds also will support four churches in India started by Kennedy, two schools in Pakistan, churches in Liberia and Malawi, and a children’s home in South America.
“We’re a small church,” said Kennedy. “We’re very mission-minded. That’s the thrust of the thrift shop.”
The church hopes through the thrift store they can raise at least $3,000 to $5,000 after expenses through selling donated books both Christian and secular, clothing, toys and household items.
Kennedy called opening the 700-square foot thrift store “a blessing.”
“It’s not money-oriented, it’s mission-oriented,” he said.
“We love the Lord and we love doing the work of our ministries.”
Associate Pastor James Anderson said the thrift store was a great idea to accomplish two missions of the church. It helps the church’s overseas mission by raising funds and locally by providing gently used items at a good price.
“As a church, we can reach people and we can help people in need,” he said. “We live in a time when we need to budget our money. The items are really cheap.”
The store carries a selection of Bibles in different translations and a variety of Christian books. It also carries devotional books, cookbooks and some children’s books — as well as a few carefully selected titles of fiction.
Faith International Christian Center was formed in Bradenton in 2002 in Kennedy’s home. It has about 50 members.
“I felt the need for a word of faith church in this area,” said Kennedy. “Word of faith teaches the reality of God in our day to day lives, not just in heaven. He helps us daily.”
The Once Again store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closed Sunday.
For more information, contact Pastor Chuck Kennedy at 447-4538, or the Faith International Christian Center at 794-1713.