Jefferson City thrift store volunteer gives more than just his time

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JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) – Every Thursday, people crowd into Second Source Thrift Store in Jefferson City. Nearly everything costs a dollar or two, but people don’t just come to get a bargain. They also get a kind word from longtime volunteer John Zimmerman.

Zimmerman retired from JC Penney 16 years ago and you can see his high retail standards everywhere you look at the thrift store. Blouses and sweaters are neatly displayed. Every hanger on each clothing rack faces the same way and purses are stacked in coordinating colors.

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Behind the scenes, as donations come in, Zimmerman makes sure the quality is good and the price is right.

“I enjoy it and it makes me sleep good at night,” he said.

“If anyone is in need of anything at all, he goes out of his way to help them. And that’s with material things or if you’re going through something hard, you know, crisis or whatever, he’s there,” said his friend Lori McGaha.

John Zimmerman is awarded the WATE 6 On Your Side Hero Award
John Zimmerman is awarded the WATE 6 On Your Side Hero Award

If the thrift store doesn’t have what someone is looking for, Zimmerman has been known to give up something of his own, like the time he gave a man his belt.

“He took his own belt off, looked at the size, it was that man’s size, took it out there and gave it to him, didn’t tell him where it came from,” said volunteer Lori Hawkins.

Thanks to Zimmerman’s help in running the thrift store so smoothly and community support, it’s been able to raise more than a million dollars over the last 15 years for Appalachian Outreach and its efforts to help the homeless.

“Through the years, Second Source Thrift Store has paid $750,000 towards our Samaritan House for Women and Children, our home repair as well as ministry center for food and clothing just paid that loan off last week, $365,0000,” said Jean-Ann Washam with Appalachian Outreach.

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