For Christmas gifts that give back, shoppers can head to the Arukah House Thrift Store on Market Street in Pascagoula. The thrift store, which offers clothing, home goods, furniture, antiques, collectibles and more, funds Pastor Charlton Thompson’s Arukah House Ministry. “It’s a ministry helping restore women and children – families that are in recovery or are facing any kind of crisis, such as addiction or homelessness,” said Thompson, who serves as director of Arukah House.
“We have a policy never to turn anybody away,” he said. “Most other ministries that take women and children have age limit. We do not.” The ministry has one facility on Saracennia Road in Moss Point and another two buildings – donated by a local Realtor – under renovation on Amonett Street in Pascagoula. They expect to open the new facilities in January. The new buildings mean that Arukah House will be able to take in more children and more families and keep them separated by age group for safety. “We are a recovery program, but where most programs charge people to be in their program, we don’t,” Thompson said. “Our clients work as volunteers here at the Arukah House thrift store to pay for the program.”
The program is built around the thrift store, he said, as “our classes are here, worship services are here during the week for the clients, as well as counseling sessions,” he said. The thrift store also has a steady supply of donations. “When we opened our ministry up five years ago, people in the community started donating things, so we were led to find a building for the thrift store,” Thompson said. “And now here we are. We’ve got everything.”
Ana Sevilla, manager and house mom for the ladies in the program, said the store often runs a deal where shoppers can get 10 clothing items for $10. “We also have a furniture sale once a month, where there is 15% off,” she said, as well as Christmas deals.
Community response has been excellent.
“It’s a blessing,” Sevilla said. “People are really loving what we are doing here. We get blessings from people left and right all of the time.” Sevilla said with each purchase, shoppers are helping to fund a life-saving and life-changing program. “If people really want to change and they want better in their lives, they need to come here and let God do a work in their lives and see how everything can change,” she said. “We’ve all been through it and been out there in the world, especially I have and pastor has. We know how to love on people and show them there’s something better out there for them.”