The Mustard Seed Thrift Store was founded to help heal the wounds of abuse through counseling, education, and support. We are a funding engine and support mechanism for organizations that help adult survivors of childhood abuse. Currently, we are funding the SOAR ministry. SOAR is an acronym for Survivors of Abuse Restored. They serve women who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
The Mustard Seed Thrift store opened in March of 2016 in Floyds Knobs. Our founder, Ginny Weigleb is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and received tremendous help and healing from the SOAR ministry. To date, SOAR has been in existence for eighteen years and has served over 700 women. Ginny wanted to do something to help them reach more people as she was so impressed with their effectiveness while operating on a very small budget and being housed in an inadequate space. She left her job at Goodwill in October of 2015, where she had worked for seventeen years and reached mid-management level. She planned to stay home and homeschool her children and considered returning to college to finish her degree in education. She was identified by another local charity thrift store as a consultant to improve their processes after visiting their store she realized that she had the skills to open a thrift store.
The first store opened in Floyds Knobs in March of 2016. By May of 2016, we realized that the original space was not large enough and we already needed to expand. We are overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of donations that we receive from our patrons and donors. It has been humbling for all of us. We know that we can do even more if we continue to expand our operation.
In August of 2017, a property in Sellersburg became available that was ideal for the second phase of The Mustard Seed that we have been planning since the beginning. The ladies that we serve struggle with feelings of worthlessness and inferiority already, so we want to be sure that nothing in our store could be considered junk or trashy. We are blessed to have a professional designer on our board who has made our stores into beautiful boutiques that are pleasing to the eye and inviting for shoppers. Our stores are well organized and very clean. Our inventory is of good quality and we have many desirable brands.
Currently, we are serving the SOAR Ministry but we hope that rising revenues would allow us to fund other organizations that help abuse victims heal. It is our desire to see our community be healed and families restored. We know that through education the cycles of abuse in families are broken. Unfortunately, the CDC reports that 1 in 4 women have experienced some form of sexual abuse during childhood. These figures are staggering. We are highly motivated to help these women. Our founder has taught all of us involved with this work how devastating the effects of abuse are on our community by sharing her own story with us.
The money that we have given to SOAR has allowed the organization to move into a facility that is approximately four times larger than where they were housed in recent years and to remodel the new space to suit their needs. The larger space enables them to meet in large group in one location, this has not been possible in the past. The space is much more appropriate for their needs and allows the facilitation of eight small groups at one time. The small group rooms provide the needed privacy and comfort to allow for members to heal from their abuse. Additionally, the funds that we have provided are allowing SOAR to train up facilitators to reach the surrounding counties more effectively.
Because of the incredible support from our community through donations and shoppers we have experienced unbelievable and rapid growth that shows no sign of slowing down, we foresee a day when we could plant stores and SOAR groups throughout the US. The wounds of abuse are pervasive in every community in our country and the broader world. We want to transform our world and provide the resources necessary for women to heal from their abuse. We know that in helping women we are also helping families to become stronger. Each woman could also be a mother, grandmother, sister, cousin, niece etc. Their healing will trickle down to every family member that they influence. The impact of abuse is felt throughout the family, we are humbled to be a part of changing these statistics.