Since the early 1990’s, the Washington County Ministerial Association (WCMA) has maintained the Good Samaritan Fund to provide short-term assistance to individuals in critical need, commonly providing rental and/or utility assistance during times of crisis, and particularly in extreme weather months.
It soon became evident that requests for assistance out-paced the ability of congregations and individual donors to meet the ever-increasing needs of those in Washington County. Many were turned away.
Inspired by the vision of Fr. Lyle Martin, several civic-minded leaders formed a committee to explore the idea of a thrift store to support the needs of the community. A Board of Directors was chosen and in 2003 Joseph’s Coat thrift store opened for business in a rented space on the main street of downtown Blair. The Washington County Food Pantry was relocated to the rear of the thrift store and integrated under the supervision of Joseph’s Coat. A year later, its current space was purchased as a “gutted” shell, and since that time board members, staff and volunteers have worked diligently to improve the property.
The thrift store is designed to make affordable clothing and household items available to the community. In turn, all proceeds from the thrift store are used to stock the food pantry for those in crisis situations.
Joseph, a young man of vision and faith, was appointed to oversee Egypt’s agricultural enterprises. For seven years he built up a reserve of grain in anticipation of a future famine. When the lean times came, Joseph opened the grainery doors to feed his neighbors and strangers who traveled great distances in the quest for food. Among the “strangers” were members of his own family with whom Joseph came to be reunited.
The story of Joseph is found in Genesis, chapters 37, 39-47.