By Bonnie Mentel
Family Christian has experienced several big changes through the years. In 2013, the Christian bookstore became a nonprofit business. Now all 280 Family Christian stores give 100 percent of its earnings to Christian charities.
The organization is working to maximize their ministry impact.
“We want people to know that we’re a not-for-profit. ‘We’re all for purpose and not for profit’ is our mantra. All of our profits, after we pay expenses, go to the orphan and widow. We’ve got 18 partners around the United States and the world. We serve with them; we don’t just send cash. We serve alongside them and send out mission teams, about 20 mission teams a year,” said Steve Biondo, vice president at Family Christian.
The Family Christian website provides information about the mission trips and its ministry partners around the world.
Sandy Santinelli is the store manager at the Brandon location at 2454 W. Brandon Blvd. She said that Family Christian also donates locally. This past Christmas season, they sold Barnabus Bears for $5, with $1 of each going to Hope Children’s Home in Tampa. The bears sold out fast in December, and the organization was able to gift 100 bears along with monetary donations to Hope Children’s Home. This January, the store is expecting a new shipment of bears, with proceeds benefiting Metropolitan Ministries in Brandon.
One of Family Christian’s global partners is World Vision. To date, Family Christian customers have sponsored over 160,000 children.
In the U.S., Family Christian supports and serves Navajo Nation near Gallup, New Mexico, the Cherokee foster children in Oaks, Oklahoma, and the Goshen Valley Boys Ranch in Atlanta, Georgia.
“We want our customers to know that we are unique; we’re not like Amazon. We give our profit to transform the Kingdom, to transform lives and to push back evil. We are also deeply involved in anti-human trafficking.
We have a partner – Destiny Rescue, and we are the first company, that I know of on the planet, that is fully funded and operating a complete anti-trafficking child rescue operation in any country in the world. We funded an operation to pull under-aged children who are trafficked against their will within the sex trade in the Dominican Republic. That is beginning right now. We have a staff in place and we are making rescues,” Biondo said.
In 2014, Family Christian donated $17,000 to God’s Littles Angels in Haiti, $25,000 to Bethany Christian Services for adoption assistance, $43,000 to LifeSong for Orphans for adoption assistance, $90,000 to Back2Back Ministries for the support and education of orphans, and $40,000 to Goshen Valley Boys Ranch.
The quote on Family Christian’s website sums up the impact that the organization and its customers have on people’s lives, “You can change a life just by shopping.”
The store has a strong emphasis on gifts, home décor, jewelry, wall art, and items for both men and women, including a strong selection of books and movies. The large assortment of Bibles has been revitalized and reoriented by translations to enable an easier shopping experience.
Biondo said that the gift items available now are more upscale and trendy and that they’ve brought in an entire new gift team to the customer support center in Grand Rapids.
For more information about the organizations that Family Christian supports, or to shop online, visit www.familychristian.com.