By: Lauren Brown
Lauren Brown is a sophomore at Central College in Pella. This January, she spent three days at Many Hands for a micro-internship. She spent time at our Pella offices and at all three of our Des Moines thrift stores.
Love in Action. That is just one part of the perfectly accurate mission statement of the Many Hands for Haiti non-profit organization. Many Hands for Haiti loves through generously impacting the lives of those in need – from the communities of Des Moines, all the way to the people in Haiti. Some volunteers and employees have the opportunity to travel over 2,000 miles to Haiti to build up a solid foundation and narrow down their focus with hopes of leading to a life-transformation in Christ. For those who stay in the United States, though, they help in other ways. Many Hands has three thrift markets in the Des Moines area and one in Spencer where hundreds of volunteers and employees choose to come in every day to a place many have called a second home and give back.
Just yesterday, I was given this same opportunity – to act in love and work with others at three of the four thrift markets. Magen, my site supervisor, and Emily, the Engagement Manager, introduced me to their lives outside of the office, and picked me up at 8:06 A.M. to head to Grimes. My job, as Emily explained to me the day before, was to take pictures at each thrift store and come up with captions for all the Many Hands social media platforms. I was excited to create content for Many Hands. Magen and Emily were super supportive of me. Along with taking pictures, I was also given permission to shop around a little which, of course, I couldn’t say no to. While in Grimes I met all the volunteers, took a tour of the store, and came up with some social media content. After that, Emily took me into the back of the store, and I began sorting clothes with Magen – checking the quality and tossing them into large, cardboard bins. Around 11:30 A.M., Magen and I purchased our thrift finds of the day, said our goodbyes, and the three of us headed out the back door to our next stop: Clive.
Emily, Lauren, and Magen in front of the Many Hands Thrift truck.
After meeting Jon, the HR manager, and eating at Monterrey for some delicious Mexican food and good conversation, we headed into the store. As I walked in, the bright lights from the tall ceilings shined into my eyes as I took a look around – the clothing to my left, home decor and miscellaneous along the back wall, books and media to my far right, and every piece of furniture displayed as if there were 10 living rooms in the middle of the store. Magen and Emily gave me another tour, and after taking a few pictures and creating some more captions, I joined them in the conference room while they got some extra work done. By around 3:00 P.M., it was time to head to our last store of the day: Merle Hay
Lauren and Magen creating Instagram content in Merle Hay.
At Many Hands Thrift in Merle Hay, I was given the opportunity to take over the thrift market Instagram stories and post some great finds. For the whole hour we were there, I walked around the store with Magen and took pictures of accessories, home décor, shoes, toys, and clothes. Creating content at Merle Hay was definitely one of my favorite parts of the day! What topped everything else, though, was the amount of love the volunteers and employees showed in their work and towards others. I could see it in their eyes and in the way they worked; it was amazing to see so many people have so much passion for what they were doing, knowing it was helping people over 2,000 miles away in Haiti. The impact that volunteers and employees have made, close by and far away, is incredible, and working with them yesterday really showed me what it’s like to Love in Action.