GOSHEN COUNTY – Land of Goshen Ministries moved to its current building on East Valley Road roughly 10 years ago.
What used to be the site of a motorcycle shop and mechanic in the 1950s, according to Manager Tracy Davis, is now too small for the thrift store and food pantry.
Two years ago, Davis and volunteers came up with the idea to put out a vase for donations toward a new building. Davis said they put the vase out, with $1 in it, in May 2018. To date, they’ve raised approximately $25,000.
“Everyone knows we need a bigger building, we need a bigger parking lot,” Davis said.
Founded in 1992 by the late Lester and Florence Snow, Land of Goshen operates a food pantry and a thrift store that sells discounted household items, clothing, books and more. Its main level is packed tightly with donated items, and there’s even a second floor with wedding attire, said Sandy Gregg, who has worked there for eight years.
A bigger space will make conditions for customers and employees safer, she said.
“More space where we can display our items a lot better,” Gregg said.
The size of its current parking lot is also an issue, according to Davis and Gregg. It’s shared with the co-op next door, but it is especially difficult to navigate on days when Land of Goshen acts as distributor for the USDA’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program for Goshen County in addition to their regular food pantry operations.
Davis said with the government commodities program, they help approximately 140 families per month over a one-week time span, meaning 140 vehicles in a limited amount of space.
“The need in Goshen county is really huge,” Davis said. “It’s not just because we’re growing, but the need is also growing along with it. So, hence the need for a new building with a parking lot, so we can take more donations and we can help more people.”
Land of Goshen has been receiving more clothing and household item donations recently as well, which Davis said she is grateful for.
“Now with COVID, people are staying home, cleaning out the closets and we’re getting more donations,” Davis said. “We just have to have a place to go with it.”
A fixture in the community, one regular customer, Esther Terrel – who recently passed away – requested donations be made to Land of Goshen in her name in lieu of flowers, according to Davis.
“It was really special because in our new building we can dedicate something to her in her name,” Davis said.
Their current location is 10,000 square feet, Davis said, so they are in the market for an even larger building with ample parking. Torrington would be ideal as a centralized location, she added.
Land of Goshen Ministries is taking suggestions about possible locations as well as donations.