Everyday Heroes: Couple lends time to thrift storePublished 12:01am Friday, July 19, 2013
VIDALIA — James and Juanita Nixon are quick to give their time to organizations that need help because they know it will all pay off in the end.
“I’m giving God part of my time now, and one of these days it’ll be my payday,” James said, standing next to a rack of clothes he hung at the Lighthouse Thrift Store. “We’ll be here helping out until the end — either until this store closes or we die.”
The Ferriday couple began volunteering at the thrift store, which is a ministry of Vidalia First Assembly of God on U.S. 84, in January after hearing a help request at church.
“The preacher came to me and asked if we’d be willing to help out,” Juanita said. “We said sure, and I started learning how to use the register.”
The store opened last year in May and was primarily run by Linda Bonnette, who is also the director of Feed the Hungry.
“We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into by opening this store, and it just got to be a little too much work for me,” Bonnette said. “I asked my pastor for help, and he brought me sister and brother (Nixon), and they really are my heroes.
“They both love this place as much as I do and are willing to help with whatever I ask.”
Normally, Bonnette said Juanita will call her early in the week and ask what days the couple can work.
But even Bonnette’s scheduling is sometimes no match for the couple’s giving nature.
“I was working last Saturday, and they just came in and started picking up stuff and sorting clothes,” Bonnette said, laughing. “I hadn’t even asked them to come in, but they did.”
James brings in donations that residents have left outside and begins sorting and displaying the donations in the store.
Juanita works the cash register and often helps James hang clothes.
“He’s a heavy load, so I let him bring in all the big stuff,” Juanita said, laughing. “I’m all for helping out when I can, so we do whatever needs to get done.”
The couple has been a critical part in keeping the store going, Bonnette said.
“It means a lot when you know you have people you can count on,” she said. “God has truly blessed us and keeps us right on going.”
The store is located next to Vidalia First Assembly of God on U.S. 84 in Vidalia and is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.