Coeur d’Alene church’s Good Samaritan thrift store wants to rebuild after fire
Sat., Aug. 13, 2016
The Good Samaritan Rehabilitation Thrift Store in Coeur d’Alene was gutted by fire earlier this month, but store employees are unbowed and unbroken, vowing to get up and running as soon as possible.
A bright red banner hangs on a chain-link fence in front of the boarded-up thrift store at Fourth Street and Hazel Avenue. “God brings beauty from ashes,” it reads. “We’re coming back.”
The store and the Good Samaritan Rehabilitation Center are ministries of the Altar Church, which is overseen by pastor Tim Remington. He continues to recover from being shot six times in the church parking lot in March. The alleged shooter is facing prosecution for aggravated battery.
The congregation is doing well despite this year’s tragedies, said outreach pastor John Padula. “Everybody is coming together, just like when the pastor got shot,” he said. “We have an amazing congregation and an amazing community that is coming together, too.”
Thrift store manager Nancy Cafferty said it likely will be some time before the strip mall can be rebuilt, so she is looking for another place to set up shop for a few months.
“We absolutely want to go back into that same location,” she said. “It’s where our donors and our shoppers are used to coming, and we love the layout.”
Revenue from the store, which opened in 2014, supports at least one scholarship per month for someone to enroll in the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. The store also provides clothing and other donated items to people who enter the center without any belongings.
“We are a ministry, first and foremost,” Cafferty said.
Investigators from the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department spent time examining the storeroom of the thrift shop as a spot where the flames were concentrated. Fire investigator Craig Etherton said the investigation into the cause of the fire is still open as they work to prove or disprove a theory.
“Right now it appears to be accidental,” he said. “There wasn’t any obvious signs that it was an intentionally set fire.”
That news has Cafferty relieved.
“I’m sorry the fire happened, but I’m grateful to hear it’s not arson,” she said. “We’ve had too much busyness going on in the church this year.”
The thrift store lost all of its inventory in the fire, but people are already coming forward with offers to make donations, Cafferty said.
“We have been so supported,” she said. “I’ve gotten cards, flowers, letters, phone calls. The church has been inundated with phone calls.”
Padula said he’s also been fielding multiple offers from people wanting to help in some way. “Everywhere I go, everyone is asking me,” he said. “It’s beautiful.”
The church should hear by the end of the week if a potential temporary location will work out, Padula said.
Cafferty said she’s lined up some storage space and will start picking up donations on Monday. Once a temporary location is finalized, the store should take about two weeks to reopen, she said.
People can track the store’s progress on the Good Samaritan Rehabilitation Thrift Store’s Facebook page. Those with donations for the store can call (208) 449-2000 to arrange a pickup.
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