Beginnings of Deary and Troy ACS Centers
The year was 1982, and the place was a little white house behind Deary Church in western Idaho. Etta Ginter, Alice and Leland Reiber, and Mike and Bernita Linderman started what they called “Dorcas.” This community service expanded with an addition of a single-wide mobile home. Shelves were built, boxes were labeled and filled, and it opened to the public one day a week. Clothing not taken was packed into boxes and hauled to the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) warehouse in Spangle, Wash., to be shipped overseas.
"The town of Deary had not been especially friendly toward Adventists prior to this outreach,” says Pat Crew. “But as people were helped, they began to feel the genuine love and care, and their hearts were softened."
Crew, who is the former director of both the Deary and Troy Adventist Community Services (ACS) centers, moved to Deary in 1990. She and her husband were still attending the Moscow (Idaho) Church, but within months she began helping at the center on a regular basis. By 1997 she was asked to be in charge.
The Deary Center was literally filling up so fast with items for the community there was no place to walk. They started raising funds and looking for a new, larger place. Crew had never been a fundraiser, but she says, “This was a God thing. In five months we had the purchase price, $70,000, and paid cash for the old shopping center in Deary.”
Many volunteers from both Troy and Deary helped to remodel and rewire the building, and they opened on Dec. 1, 1999. The center operated on a donation basis. The donation jar received generous amounts at the start. Eventually people began calling it the “free” store. “We realized we were enabling people to make unhealthy choices by not paying for things," Crew reports, "so we finally decided to switch over to a full thrift store.”
Though this was a difficult decision, it was applauded from people in the community. People in great need were still cared for at no cost, but others purchased needed items.
Even before this new center opened in Deary, volunteers were receiving furniture. At first they handled it in their storeroom, then a garage. Then the town of Deary allowed them the used of some of their building space. “We needed to do something to improve the situation,” says Crew. “After much prayer, discussion, seeking others' wisdom and asking God for divine guidance, we bought the lot across the alley from our center."
They had the money in a short amount of time and paid cash. They began building a 5,000-square-foot building in 2008 and moved into it in 2010. Darrel Hunt and his crew saved the center thousands of dollars. It now houses a food bank, a shop and pallet shelving accessed by a forklift where the furniture is stored.
The Deary Center serves 35–40 families a month through their food bank, and people continue to bring furniture daily to their warehouse. They sponsored two community dinners, which were favorably received, and have been asked to have a booth in the park on Deary Days. The center has made many friends in the community.
Expanding to Troy
The Sojourners thrift store in Troy was rumored in 2013 to be closing. Crew visited with the owner, Steve Bonner. When she expressed an interest in the store, he gave her a price. She countered with a lower price. Once Crew received the go-ahead and spoke to the Troy board, they were able to purchase the shop for $20,000. It closed June 9, 2013, and reopened June 17 as the Troy ACS Center.
This center has now been rewired; has a covered access ramp, new lighting and ceiling; and is manned by volunteers from the Troy community. It is completely debt-free. They are currently working on improving accessibility to the food bank.
“God is a big God,” says Crew. “He has some very big plans for the center in Troy. This is a faith-building experience.”
Patty Marsh, Upper Columbia Conference Adventist Community Services director traveled to Deary Nov. 18, 2017, and awarded Pat Crew a beautiful plaque for 27 years and thousands of hours of service to the two ACS centers. Crew has since passed the torch to new leadership in Deary and Troy ACS centers, and they continue to operate with new volunteers.