By Mindy Weisberg

Calvary Lutheran Church recently broke ground on its new Angel Attic building, representing Phase 1 of what will someday be a full Calvary mission center and sanctuary on S.R. 674 in Ruskin.

Nearly 130 Calvary and community members alike gathered to watch the groundbreaking ceremony for this initiative which was long in the making. The Angel Attic, a charity thrift store of sorts that offers secondhand clothing, furniture and household goods, replaces the original structure on the same property. The old Angel Attic trailer was demolished earlier in preparation for the new, fully functional 4000 sq. ft. building that is custom-designed to support the needs of the thriving Angel Attic.

“We have spent years raising money and countless hours planning for this great moment,” said Paula Sabo, a church representative actively involved in the Angel Attic initiative. “It will be wonderful to offer our community access to the new Angel Attic this summer.”  The target completion date is July 2013.

Construction is being funded by the Calvary congregation and was made possible by one generous (and anonymous) donation from someone who recognized the good that the Angel Attic and the adjacent Community Cupboard food pantry brought to the region. Both ministries needed more space and better facilities to continue its missions. Since 2005, the Angel Attic, run primarily by Calvary volunteers, has served the SouthShore community and those in need by providing goods at a significant discount. “It is more than just a thrift store,” says Sabo. “It is a necessary community resource and there are plenty of people who count on it to provide for their family.”

All goods sold at the Angel Attic are donated by area residents. Due to storage limitations during construction, Calvary is not currently collecting donations, but will begin doing so again around the June timeframe.  Any profits made from sales go primarily to purchase food for the Calvary’s Community Cupboard, which distributes groceries and meal essentials to over 325 local families each week. During construction, the Community Cupboard has temporarily relocated to 19 Seventh Avenue NE in Ruskin.

The rest of the mission center construction will follow suit once Calvary is able to sell its existing property at 5309 US-41 N in Apollo Beach.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.