Tag Archives: Save and Serve

Sue Pyle just wanted to help

Sue Pyle by Bruce Stambaugh

Sue Pyle, of Strongsville, Ohio checked out some of the many items she donated to Save & Serve Thrift Shop for its Christmas Open House.

By Bruce Stambaugh

Sue Pyle wanted to downsize from her home in Strongsville, Ohio to a smaller place. That meant doing away with some of her most valuable treasures, her many Christmas tree displays.

For the past 26 years, Pyle has filled her house with the trees, each with its own separate theme. Year after year, she opened her house to many an admirer.

Pyle’s trees came in all sizes. She decorated as many as 32 trees. Some were half-trees that hung on the wall while others were miniature trees. Of course, she had a traditional Christmas tree, too.

The trees and ornaments took up a lot of storage space when not used. Though she hated to do it, Pyle knew in downsizing she had to dispense of much of her holiday decorating tradition.

Friends encouraged her to sell the decorations, some of which she had had for years. Others told her to hold a garage sale. But neither is what Pyle had in mind.

Instead, Pyle remembered what some friends had told her about the annual Christmas Open House held at Save & Serve Thrift Shop in Millersburg, Ohio. She had visited the store, learned of its mission, where the profits went, and made up her mind to donate her Christmas collection to Save & Serve, even though it was an hour away from her home.

“I know that all the money made from selling my items will go directly to help people,” Pyle said. “That’s what I wanted because I like their global mission.”

In total, all of Pyle’s seasonal decorations filled a 16-foot box truck and a van. It was probably the largest seasonally specific donation of it’s kind, according to Eric Raber, co-manager at Save & Serve.

“We once had a pick up load arrive from Chicago for the same reason,” Raber said. “But this was definitely the largest donation specifically for decorating.”

In addition to her Christmas items, Pyle also donated fall and other holiday decorations. Raber said the donations from Pyle helped make the Christmas Open House a huge success. The event was held Oct. 25-27.

“We sold 2,000 items the first day alone,” Raber said.

Curious as to how things would be displayed, Pyle visited Save & Serve the first day of the Christmas Open House sale.

“I was impressed with how they had everything displayed,” Pyle said. “They did an excellent job, and they were great to work with.”

Raber praised the seven volunteers who spent many hours organizing and creating the festive Christmas arrangements. He said many of the items were from Pyle’s donations.

“It was the eye of those who created the displays that made them so attractive and presentable for customers,” Raber said. “Those creative gifts made the open house the success that it was.”

“I really enjoyed visiting the store,” said Marilyn Howarth, a friend of Pyle’s who tagged along on the trip from the Cleveland area. “Everything was displayed so nice.”

Raber said this was the third year for the Christmas Open House, and the most successful. He said sales from the first day of the open house were the best since the opening day at Save & Serve’s South Washington Street location.

“Sue’s generosity was wonderful,” Raber said. “We value the intent of the donor.”

Raber said Save & Serve appreciates the generosity of all those who donate merchandise, as well as the generosity of time by the many volunteers who sort through the donations.

“Giving develops through relationships,” Raber said citing Pyle as an example. “It’s people connecting with people.”

Pyle, a retired elementary teacher, said she started her collections from the gifts given to her by students.

“It started with the giraffe collection,” she said. “I expanded my collections with spur-of-the-moment purchases.”

Some of her themes included a hunt tree, a kitchen tree, little books and a bear tree. She even had a Lakeside, Ohio tree, a place where she vacations annually.

Pyle’s generosity wasn’t just aimed at Save & Serve. In 2001, Pyle began creating a themed tree that she donated to the Akron Children’s Hospital’s Holiday Tree Festival. The trees are purchased with the proceeds going to the hospital.

“This year I am doing a Merry Mickey Christmas tree,” Pyle said.

Like the many shoppers at Save & Serve, whoever buys that tree will have their holidays enhanced thanks to Sue Pyle.

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Tipping the Teacup: A frugal fashion show

Naomi Raber

Naomi Raber checked her hat before making her entrance into the fashion show.

By Bruce Stambaugh

A fashion show sponsored by a thrift store sounds like the punch line to a bad joke. But that’s exactly what happened recently in Millersburg to the delight of all who attended.

Save and Serve Thrift Shop of Millersburg sponsored a memorable event titled “Tipping the Teacup” Friday evening, May 21 at Millersburg Mennonite Church. Part meal, part fashion show, part fundraiser, the enjoyable gathering was officially dubbed “a very special tea party and style review.” No matter how it was described, the evening became quite the social party.

Helen Glick, assistant manager at Save and Serve, organized and hosted the party, which was attended by nearly 150 people. That number included 23 individuals, children to grandmothers, who served as models for the fashion show that followed the heavy Hors d’ Oeuvres meal.

The church was filled with decorated tables set with china plates, teacups and saucers, all from Save and Serve. Bouquets of fresh cut flowers adorned each table.

After raiding a buffet worthy a cruise ship and having tea or coffee served to them, attendees were entertained while they ate. Rhoda Mast played the piano and sang. Others sang as well, including Kudzayi Nyakura, Rachel Miller, and Annie and Carrie Yoder.

After the meal, the patrons, who paid $20 each to attend, settled in for the stylish entertainment. They weren’t disappointed.

Carol Mullet of Sugarcreek served as commentator of the style review. Each volunteer model dawned pre-selected outfits obtained from Save and Serve’s inventory and wound their way through the audience as Mullet described their choice of clothing.

Zack, Kevin and Jonathan show off their outfits.

Zack Miller, Kevin Roth and Jonathan Reuel revisited years gone by with their outfits.

The wardrobes modeled ranged from prom dresses to hip garb to head-to-toe cowboy. Each model chose three separate outfits to wear.

60s dress

Back to the 60s.

Some wore exquisite clothing, while others exhibited crowd-pleasing silliness with combinations from by-gone eras.

The style show concluded with entrance of a black tuxedo complete with top hat worn by Dr. Roy Miller. He escorted Heather McDonough dressed in a lacy, black formal gown and contrasting red hat and veil. All the models had first option to buy the clothing they wore. After that, those in attendance could purchase particular items they had spied.

Glick said the evening earned nearly $2,400 for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Proceeds from Save and Serve also are sent to MCC, which aides refugees in need of food, clothing and shelter around the globe. Emergency kits for Haiti following the devastating earthquake there earlier this year are an example of MCC’s services.

The Tipping the Teacup planning committee included Glick, Mullet, Janice Miller and Ruby Miller. This was the second year for the benefit fashion event.

formal and tux

Formal attire completed the benefit fashion show.

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From Haiti to Millersburg, Ohio, a harrowing journey

Fritz Jeanty family

Fritz Jeanty hold two and a half year old son, Samuel, while his wife, Mamie, cuddles five month old son, Benjamin.

By Bruce Stambaugh

Shortly before 5 p.m. on January 12, Fritz Jeanty of Port-au-Prince, Haiti was on his way home when his car lurched from the force of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. He didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation until he saw people running and heard people praying and praising God for being saved.

Fritz headed for home via the main road, but quickly came upon even more devastating scenes. People carried injured victims. Debris and clouds of dust were everywhere.

People were screaming, crying and praying all at the same time. While attempting to get home, Fritz met his pastor, who had his car full of injured victims, on the way to a hospital. The pastor told Fritz that the church had been leveled.

In his tireless effort to reach his family, Fritz drove as fast as he could until the road was completely blocked with collapsed buildings and dead bodies. Fritz parked his car, and ran towards home, fearful of what he would find. Before he could arrive, however, a neighbor intercepted him with good news. Fritz’s family was safe.

“I started crying right away,” Fritz said. They were tears of joy and sadness. “I was happy my family was alive, but I was sad for all the dead and injured, too.”

When he arrived home, his wife, Mamie, and two young sons, Samuel, two-and-a half, and Benjamin, five months, were unhurt but scared. Their home was rendered uninhabitable. The grocery store Fritz owned and operated five miles away had been completely destroyed, too.

“You could hear crying everywhere,” Fritz said. “I was overwhelmed.”

With darkness arriving, Fritz had to wait until early the next morning to turn his attention to extended family members who lived nearby. At dawn, he went to look for his brother, who he discovered was all right. However, Mamie’s two sisters were both crushed in the rubble of their home. But her mother was alive.

The Jeanty family lived on the street outside their destroyed home for a week. Fritz said they could hardly sleep, with frequent aftershocks, mosquitoes, nothing but rubble to lie on and potential looters roaming. The only provisions they had were some rice and cooking oil Fritz had stored in an old car in his yard. They had some water in a drum container, and Fritz had to walk two miles to refill it.

With precious commodities running low, Fritz went into survival mode. He reentered their badly damaged home, and carefully retrieved important personal papers, including the boys’ passports.

Fritz went to the American embassy in Port-au-Prince and was disheartened to find a long, long line. But because both of his sons had been born in the United States, Fritz was told to go to the airport to be airlifted out of Haiti.

Early the next morning they found themselves on a transport plane, unsure of where they were going. When they landed, they were in Orlando, Florida, which was providential. Just the previous day, Fritz had obtained a key for his father-in-law’s home in Orlando in case they somehow ended up there.

But Fritz knew they could not stay there long without money. He had kept some phone numbers of persons with whom he had worked in Christian Aid Ministries, based in Berlin, with missions in Haiti. A friend of a former CAM worker helped the Jenaty family make contacts in Ohio.

Arrangements were made for Fritz and his family to ride the Pioneer Trails bus back to Holmes County. In addition, contacts with Save and Serve Thrift Store in Millersburg were established, an apartment found, and by the time Fritz and his family arrived in Berlin the next day, they had a place to stay amid the largest Amish population in the world.

Fritz and his family are permitted to stay for six months. He is filling in his time by volunteering at Save and Serve, which is taking donations to help buy food and living necessities for the family. Donations to assist Fritz and his family may be sent or delivered to Save and Serve, marked Haitian Relief, P.O. Box 128, Millersburg, OH  44654.

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