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The Ruth Free Store: Growing in size, growing in giving

The Ruth Free Store: Growing in size, growing in giving
Published: Mar. 19, 2022 at 11:22 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2022 at 6:46 AM CDT
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SUPERIOR, WI. (KBJR) - In Superior, a store that’s dedicated to helping people get back on their feet is doing record business.

At the Ruth Free Store, you can find almost anything, except a cash register.

Everything in the store is free.

The merchandise is there for people in need, donated by people who have more than they need.

“I’m here to drop off a bunch of donations here at the Ruth House. Me and my fiance, we drop off stuff all the time,” said Lucas Anderson, a Superior resident.

The store is an outreach effort from Ruth House and Walking Victorious ministries.

For Anderson, it’s become a regular stop.

“We drop off donations once a week,” said Anderson.

Jack Swonger, a Senior Pastor for both Ruth House and Walking Victorious ministries helps operate the store.

He said 40 to 80 people a day come in to shop, but close to 30 people a day come in to donate.

The explosion of giving means it’s time to expand.

“Right now, we’ve outgrown this space,” said Swonger.

So they’re moving the store to a bigger location.

“We’ll have probably twice as much floor space, so we can acquire twice as many donated items. So, there are a lot more things for people in need,” said Swonger.

The new location may make a world of difference, but it’s not a world away. It’s right next door.

According to Swonger, all that room will help Ruth House give more than ever before.

“It is our hope that we end up acquiring full-sized refrigerators, tables, and beds,” said Swonger.

It’s all made possible through community donations.

And for people like Lucas Anderson, donating gives him a chance to pay it forward.

“Several years ago, me and my fiancé were at the place where we were going to these free stores and we were really in need,” said Anderson.

Now he’s helping people back on their feet, after walking a mile in their shoes.

“Now we donate as much as we can to them, all the time,” said Anderson.

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