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Thrift store in Beloit seeks to continue serving people in need Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Pat Casucci, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
Beloit st vincent de paul
At the recent dedication of the new St. Vincent de Paul Store in Beloit, 94-year-old Bob Buetow, a former manager of the store, cut the ribbon during the dedication. (Photo by Pat Casucci)

BELOIT -- Since opening its larger thrift store, Beloit St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers agree there has been a notable increase in customers. The customers often express their appreciation for the inviting, expanded store area.

After operating its store in about 1,500 square feet for the past 30 years, last spring the society purchased the adjoining building at 614 Fourth St. Now with 4,444 square feet of space, there is room for appliances and furniture as well as clothing and household items.

Continuing the dream

When the dedication of the new thrift store took place recently, there were expressions of joy and accomplishment from more than 40 volunteers who had gathered. There was also a push to continue serving people in need.

Todd Ropella, president of the Beloit Society of St. Vincent de Paul, energetically praised the group’s successful efforts to purchase the building. He recalled the many years that the group “dreamed” of additional space. “Now we must not stop dreaming. We need to be aware of the great needs, of a new type of poverty in our community,” he stated.

As he blessed the thrift store, Fr. John Hedrick, the society spiritual director and also pastor of St. Thomas and St. Jude Parishes, noted that “our work enables us to practice charity, to make our work a source of blessing.”

Fr. Mike Resop, pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, praised the volunteers for their success.

Father Hedrick said, “As volunteers, you show your hospitality to all who use the building. Everyone works for the overall good of the community and we all find joy.”

Assisting the poor

Ropella thanked the volunteers and encouraged them by adding, “We can never lose faith in our work. For me, I feel as a Catholic, I have a moral responsibility to assist the poor in every way possible.”

Almost all of the group’s profits are used to assist with the many needs of the disadvantaged in the community, he added.

In memory of a longtime active member, Joe Fox, who is deceased, Ropella said, “He left us better, so that we could fulfill our dream to be able to help those in need.”

A former manager of the thrift store, 94-year-old Bob Buetow, smiled proudly as he looked over the spacious quarters. “I assigned myself a mission when I came aboard in 1991 to build the number of volunteers until some young fellows came on board. Subsequently, we got to Todd (Ropella), who is doing a wonderful job."

Several volunteers, including Steve Werner, Betty Davis, and Dorothy Warriner, pride themselves on their customer service and the opportunity to serve their community. Davis, a former teacher, said she meets many friendly people and will dole out fashion advice when asked. Werner, a former pediatrician, said he likes to reconnect with many friends.

Dorothy Warriner, 88 years, has volunteered for more than 24 years. “I especially enjoy meeting customers as they come in. It is a good feeling to assist people,” she said.

St. Vincent de Paul in Beloit has been helping people in need since the 1930s and was incorporated in 1965.

“We’re Beloit’s ‘best kept secret.’ We continue to show our care and compassion, and we must never stop dreaming,” said Ropella.

 
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