Launching a Dream
The opening of a second-hand store in Loures
Since 2013, the second-hand store in Massamá has given people the opportunity to have a sense of dignity in purchasing nice things at affordable prices, but also to find a sense of community and build relationships.
The boutique-feel of the store, created by volunteers from both the Massamá and Loures congregations, helps customers feel welcome and gives them a positive experience as they shop at the store.
Countless customers over the years have been able to create friendships with the Massamá store manager Maria, and her staff, and have been able to experience the love of Christ through the incredible work of our Massamá team.
Due to the success of this project, Friends of Portugal is now seeking to launch a new dream for 2019 by opening a brand new store in Loures, the same region where the Centro Evangélico is located.
Doing so, would open the second-hand store project to a larger market and would also allow the church to have a greater impact in the lives of Loures residents.
From the bazaar to a store: expanding the reach
From the beginning, Centro Evangélico has been heavily involved in the project by providing volunteers from the congregation. Similar to the second-hand store project, the church has historically held a bazaar once a month where people from all over the area can purchase high-quality goods at very low prices.
The bazaars in Loures have a been a great success, with nearly 150 people visiting them each month. As such, the idea of opening a second-hand store in Loures came as a natural next step to the success of the bazaar.
Marques Mente, pastor of Centro Evangélico, shared why he believes the store would be of great benefit to the region of Loures. He said that the store would allow volunteers to have a more direct contact with individuals that do not regularly attend the church.
“As a church, we want to continue to address people’s needs in the community of Santo António dos Cavaleiros and Loures in a practical way,” he said. “As a faith-based social initiative, the store would be a way for us to further connect the church to the local community.”
Marques considers the store to be a strategic platform that would help them fulfill the goal of having regular contact with locals, develop those contacts into relationships and then introduce spiritual conversations.
“We seek to eventually be able to challenge those that God brings to us to seek a personal relationship with Jesus,” he said.
Marjorie Ekk, one of the overseers of the Massamá project, spoke of the importance of having a second-hand store in Loures.
“People walking outside often feel lonely,” she said. “If they are able to find a store with volunteers that greet them in friendship and ask them about their lives, it will contribute to our goal of being salt and light to a needy world.”
How it would work
Loures is a much larger region than Massamá, giving FoP and Centro Evangélico the opportunity to reach hundreds more Portuguese people in need of affordable shopping, but perhaps more importantly in need of community and of hope.
Opening the store in Loures would expand the project to a larger market and would also allow for the Centro Evangélico church to have a more intimate contact into the community through the physical location of the store. Staffing and leadership of our new location, modeled after the 5 years of success in Massamá, will be led by Marjorie and Maria and volunteers provided by the Centro Evangélico.
The new store in Loures would seek to be open three times a week and would count with the help of several volunteers including a team of three managers that would commit themselves to overseeing the weekly affairs of the store.
The church would provide the volunteers and Friends of Portugal (through Rede Progresso, our registered non-profit in Portugal) would help with the business and provide the tools and resources for management.
The church leadership recommends the store be located in a very public and well-seen location. Marques said he is confident that the 150 individuals that visit the monthly bazaar would also visit the store, but that through a permanent and visible physical location the project would be able to reach even more people.
Hope and dignity
Despite the economic hardships Portugal has faced in the past, there is one thing that people seek the most: hope. Through the second-hand store in Massamá that sense of hope has branched out into that local community.
Friends of Portugal, in partnership with Centro Evangélico, seeks to expand that reach with the Loures store and extend that same hope and sense of dignity into the Portuguese people within their local community.
If you would like to donate to the project, visit our donations page to make your gift.