Yard Sales Give Second Chance To Homeless And Hurting

Hosted by four area churches, “The Second Chance Yard Sales,” will provide funding and furniture for the Jefferson Street Baptist Center, a shelter for the homeless and hurting in Louisville.

Founded in the 1880s by Steve Holcombe, a former riverboat gambler turned pastor, the center, located on 733 E. Jefferson St., serves more than 250 men and women daily. In 2010 and 2011 combined, the center washed over 22,000 loads of laundry free of charge and passed out 33,000 toiletry kits to its guests.

Additionally, the center offers a six-month residential program, which houses up to 25 men at one time. Residents complete more than 325 hours of job training in addition to 325 hours of classes, which use the Bible to teach life skills and build character.

One such participant in the residential program was Bryan Allan, a Northern Kentucky native who faced the devastating reality of drug and alcohol abuse.

“I was spending way too much money trying to be something I wasn’t,” Allan said of his battle with what he called a social addiction.

Searching for a feeling of acceptance, Allan consumed drugs and alcohol in the presence of his peers, yet continued to feel a lingering sense of emptiness inside.

That’s when Allan decided to seek out Jefferson Street Baptist Center, though his first attempt at the program ended in relapse.

“I wasn’t connected to a church or a community,” Allan said of his first stay at the center. “I just turned it right back.”

However, Allan was determined to set his life straight and approached the center in October about a second chance at completing the program.

“I had asked if I could come back,” Allan said. “I feel like God wanted me back, and He just made it the right time to be here. It showed me a lot about myself.”

Now a hard-working employee for a local contractor, Allan has successfully turned his life around for the better. Not only does he hold a full-time job, but he also continues working with the Jefferson Street Baptist Center, leading Bible study, cooking for the shelter and moving furniture during the Second Chance Yard Sales.

“I experienced an amazing turn-around, to go from being selfish to being surrounded by so much love,” Allan said of his experience with the center. “It’s kind of hard to beat that. (The shelter is) an amazing opportunity to observe everything God has to offer on a daily basis.”

Like Allan, many of the residents at Jefferson Street Baptist Center are searching for significant, positive change and will rely on the center as a refuge from their troubled past. The Second Chance Yard Sales are an important component in keeping that center running and furnished for its guests.

“In general (proceeds from the yard sales) go toward our agency’s general budget, but what that means in the nitty gritty is we’re able to keep our day shelter running with over 200 folks per day,” said Jesse Eubanks, executive director of Jefferson Street Baptist Center. “Folks are able to come and get a light breakfast and make phone calls. People living on the streets are severely impoverished and we’re providing services they desperately need.”

By participating in the Second Chance Yard Sales, you can help the homeless and hurting by either donating furniture and household items to the center, or by shopping at one of the area yard sales held from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

This year, yard sales will be hosted on July 27 and 28 at Auburndale Baptist Church, August 24 and 25 at Hurstbourne Baptist Church, September 14 and 15 at Bethany Baptist Church and October 5 and 6 at Third Avenue Baptist Church. However, furniture – the center’s greatest need – household supplies and monetary donations are accepted year round.

“At the end of the day, the simple action of donating a piece of furniture or going and shopping at a yard sale is going to make an actual difference in a person’s life in our city,” Eubanks said. “Something that seems insignificant is actually very powerful and very needed. The reality is what we do costs a lot of money, and a lot of people can’t give money away but they have old items they can give away … its an opportunity to show love to somebody who desperately needs love … and really see long term change happen.”

For more information on the Jefferson Street Baptist Center, visit www.jeffersonstreet.org.

Second Chance Yard Sale Schedule

All yard sales will be held Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

July 27 & 28
Auburndale Baptist Church
5590 Bruce Ave.

August 24 & 25
Hurstbourne Baptist Church
8800 Shelbyville Road

September 14 & 15
Bethany Baptist Church
2319 Taylorsville Road

October 5 & 6
Third Avenue Baptist Church
(One block from the St. James Art Fair)
1726 S. Third St.