WILLIAMSBURG — Bruton Parish Shop Manager Diane Koun tells every customer who walks in that it’s “guilt-free” shopping.
This is because all proceeds from the shop go towards mission and outreach programs.
The historic Bruton Parish Episcopal Church, located 201 W Duke of Gloucester St., has a Mission & Outreach Committee that oversees the parish’s outreach grants process. The committee takes the shop proceeds and divides them up amongst the grant requests that they receive each fall.
The committee responds to grant requests from nonprofit organizations and individuals working to meet the needs of local, state, national, and international communities.
Back in April 2020, the committee divided its $5,000 emergency fund to meet the needs of the local community during the pandemic, providing grants of $1,000 each to Williamsburg House of Mercy, Grove Christian Outreach Center, and Williamsburg Meals on Wheels.
In August, the committee also provided $1,000 in emergency assistance to Williamsburg Meals on Wheels’ Summer/Fall Feeding Program and Williamsburg House of Mercy.
These efforts are just a few of the ways the parish supports the community, with all of the gift shop sales going towards these grants.
The gift shop first opened in 1995 after the church’s Episcopal Church Women’s group held fundraising activities and thought it would be beneficial for the parish to have its own gift shop.
The Episcopal Church Women provided the funds for the shop, which was approved by the church vestry.
Over the past 26 years, more than $2.5 million have been given to the community through the proceeds from the shop.
“It’s guilt-free shopping. We have customers who come from all over the country, of course because of our location, and they love our mission,” Koun said.
Resembling a small house, the shop sits a street away from Bruton Parish and is staffed by volunteers not just from the parish, but from all over the local area.
The shop was renovated in 2017, in which walls were taken down to open up some of the rooms. A heritage center was also added, giving customers the opportunity to learn about the history of Bruton Parish.
“People coming in thoroughly enjoy this new addition of the history of the church from colonial days up to the current time,” Koun said.
Customers who walk all the way through the gift shop will enter a chapel, where people can meditate or pray.
The shop also hosts a jumble sale, or a table of items, such as plates, table tops and silvers, that people have donated.
Koun said that the jumble sale has been a success, and that the profits also go towards mission and outreach.
“Our mission is to help people,” Koun said.
CATCH UP ON MORE WYDAILY STORIES: