The Second Harvest seeds were planted in 2018 with three seemingly unrelated events.
In early 2018, a bequest from the estate of Wilma Stoebener was left to the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, and the funds were restricted to the “care and support of the local indigent.” Later on that summer Sharpsburg experienced the unexpected closing of the thrift store run by St. Vincent de Paul. The store meant a lot to the community as it provided access to critical material goods in an area where nearly one third of the residents do not have personal transportation. The loss of the thrift store dealt a real blow to the community, but their outcry for affordable clothing, shoes, furniture and housewares did not go unheard. By November of 2018, two Fox Chapel Presbyterian members began dreaming about ways to build relationships in Sharpsburg and the possibility of continuing the ministry of Harvest Fair (the church’s annual rummage sale) on a daily basis in Sharpsburg.
A group of dedicated church members combined all of those 2018 circumstances to form a completely new nonprofit organization named Second Harvest, with the mission to meet the material and relational needs of the community by providing access to affordable necessities in a bright, clean and modern thrift store. A Board of Directors petitioned the FCPC Session to assign the bequeath funds to Second Harvest and they began the process of sharing the vision for this new venture.
Everyone wanted the store to become a real “destination” for the surrounding areas, to bring in additional revenue which would help fund other local charities already doing good in Sharpsburg. They even expanded their vision to include a gathering space that would also offer residents a separate area to visit together. To accomplish ALL this, they knew their vision was not the only thing that needed to expand; they needed to find a building big enough, and raise even more money.
Many, many fortuitous events led to the discovery of just the right building in early 2019. And in January 2020, the property was purchased and the architects began their work. While early fundraising efforts were underway, they went into full-swing as demolition, preparations and planning began, prior to COVID’s arrival. The financial challenges thrust upon the residents of Sharpsburg as a result of COVID (increased unemployment rates, health crises, increased debt, and such) prompted the board to hold a massive tent sale at the building in effort to assist families as they prepared for the uncertain return to school. The brilliant turnout to that event reinvigorated all involved with Second Harvest.
Assured that Second Harvest Community Thrift Store was truly a worthy, well-organized and much-needed cause, countless foundations and partnerships emerged. The 6500 square foot building’s extensive renovations came to completion as 2020 drew to an end and our story continues to this day. Every donation given and every dollar you spend at Second Harvest Thrift helps propel local efforts to do good, right here in our school district.