Andrea Berdine form Hollister, Missouri, never thought that waiting in line at a thrift store would change her life.
As People Magazine reports, the mother of two opened Selfless Blessings, a shop that collects clothes and gives them to those in need for free, after an encounter four years ago at a resale store.
A homeless man came into the shop from the rain, drenched, looking for a free coat to give him shelter from the storm. The sales clerk refused.
“I started crying – I couldn’t believe what was happening in my community,” she says.
Berdine went to her car and took out her husband’s old coat for the man, and apologed for what had happened. She even gave him the few dollars she had in her pocket. He thanked her, telling her his name was Michael, and she never saw him again.
“Appalled” at what she had witnessed, Berdine wrote about the experience on Facebook. People asked how they could help, so Berdine created a Facebook page that linked people with free items they were in need of, such as appliances, clothing, and shoes.
In 2013, Berdine quit her job and transformed the Facebook page into an actual store.
People reports that a portion of the store is a boutique in order to cover rent, but that the rest of the store is free to those in need.
The store has changed lives, including that of Louis Nelson. After Nelson and his family fell on hard times, Berdine made sure that had everything they needed to get back on their feet.
“Andrea heard about our situation and got us everything we needed — clothes, pots and pans, blankets, even a bed for when we moved into a place of our own,” says Nelson.