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Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25 Cents at a Time Paperback – October 1, 2010
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--Review for Religious
--Ray Dupont, National Saint Vincent de Paul Stores Committee Chairperson
Inspiring true stories of a volunteer thrift-store worker’s soul-changing encounters with the poor
Three people are waiting on the sidewalk in the drizzle. I drive past them and around the end of the building. As I park my car next to the fresh graffiti, I chew on my lip and say to myself for the hundredth time, What are you doing here, Jane? You don’t know the first thing about helping poor people!
So begins Thrift Store Saints, a collection of true stories based on Jane Knuth’s experiences at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in the inner city of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
At the outset of the book, Knuth is a reluctant new volunteer at the store, sharing that her middle-class, suburban, church-going background has not prepared her well for this kind of work. By the end of the book, Knuth has undergone a transformation of sorts, and neither she nor we can ever view the poor in the same way again.
Knuth’s transformation is rooted in the prevailing message of Thrift Store Saints: When we serve the poor, they end up helping us as much as we help them. Throughout the book we are introduced to new “saints,” as Knuth thoughtfully, at times humorously, describes how her encounters with the poorest people led her to the greatest riches of God’s grace.
Thrift Store Saints makes clear that it doesn’t require heroic Mother Teresa-types to make a difference with the poor, and it even more powerfully shows us that working with them is not gloomy, depressing work. Knuth’s moving stories demonstrate the profound joy any of us can experience when we see helping the poor not as social work, but as a spiritual path that leads us to the heart of Jesus.
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Top Customer Reviews
Through meeting the "saints" who frequented her shop, Knuth undergoes a profound transformation in her own spiritual life. She begins to see the poor not as burdens but as "opportunities to meet Jesus." Thrift Store Saints is the perfect type of social-justice book: it uses personal stories and it doesn't leave you feeling guilty about what you're not doing. Instead, it inspires you--through example, not guilt--to want to do more. Thrift Store Saints teaches you, in the words of Mother Teresa, how to find Christ in his "most distressing disguise."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Heart warming book about the people who come to the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. Both the volunteers and those seeking help benefit from their contact.Published 6 days ago by jonconn
Very interesting read about how getting involved in helping others often returns to the giver more than they anticipated.Published 6 months ago by ed
As a fellow SVdP volunteer, this book is right on. I have encountered some of the clients and experiences that Jane talks about. Read morePublished 6 months ago by ChicagoGirl
Loved it!! This book is a must read for volunteers working with the poor and disadvantagedPublished 7 months ago by Brenda
I manage a small non-profit thrift store, and worked for Goodwill for 8 years. I have experienced many 'Jesus touched' moments as well, such as those in this book. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Stacie Morrell
Loved the writing style of this author. Easy reading and inspiring stories of working with the poor gave me many new insights. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sandy Denney