Et Cetera Shop
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been volunteering at the Et Cetera Shop in Weatherford. My mom has worked there for 23 years and my sisters and I wouldtag along whenever we got the chance. It’s herethat I learned customer service, how to properly count change and balance a drawer, and the value of hard work. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to give back to those in need and how to appreciate what I have, though sometimes it may not seem like enough. I’ve watched families struggle to pay for a $1 shirt or a child get excited over a new baby doll. I’ve heard the stories of grandparents taking care of their grandchildren while trying to survive on social security income. I’ve seen a child’s face light up when they finally can afford a new coat and the disappointment in another child’s eyes when the ball they wanted isn’t quite in the budget this month. Once I realized that life isn’t always about money and things, my life changed in ways that can’t be taught. And I owe that life changing lesson to a local non-profit organization, the Et Cetera Shop.
In the late 1970’s, my dad’s cousin Lynn Shantz had a dream to open a store where people less fortunate could afford household necessities and the profits would fund Mennonite missions overseas. The idea was for people to donate used items which would be sold at cheaper prices to those could use them. The churches were on board with the plan and the retail store opened its first location in 1978 with no profit or budget goals in mind. 38 years later, the Et Cetera shop has changed drasticall, but the mission has stayed the same.
The funds for these ministries would not be possible without the countless volunteers that spend their days at the Et Cetera Shop. Young and old, college students and grandparents, men and women are all willing to help where they are needed and I am one of them.