From Staff Reports

While other churches gather items to sell in garage sales to raise funds, Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Longview for 12 years has been flipping that idea on its head.

The church collects new and gently used items and gives them away to people in need of clothes, shoes, school uniforms, what-nots, small furniture, linens, tools and other miscellaneous items. It says anyone in need of clothes is invited to visit the church’s annual Free Items Five-Away and get whatever and however much they need.

The event is from 9 a.m. to noon today at the church, 306 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Longview.

“We proposed to share our items instead of hosting garage sales for selfish gains,” said Susan Moon, who, as mission president of the church’s women’s auxiliary first proposed the idea. “If we are striving to take on the character of God, we need to be willing to go the extra mile in service to one another. A person must have compassion if he or she wants to genuinely help others. Too often, we shut our eyes and hearts to the needs around us.”

The church said the idea is based on Matthew 25:35-40: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

“People have to purchase food, which is astronomical in cost, and balance utilities and other bills,” Moon said, “so just being able to help people in other ways is a great help to them.”

For more information, please call (903) 746-4078 or (903) 753-1774.