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A River Valley Community “Treasure”: Saybrook Community Church Free Treasures Den

By Meghan Peterson

(January 19, 2024) — Haddam Killingworth News/HK-Now.com recently reached out to Cindy Wallace, Director of the Community Outreach Program at Saybrook Community Church (SCC) in Old Saybrook.

During this time of increased homelessness and need for basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter) on the rise, it is appropriate to speak with the head of a local resource that serves communities, not just in the Connecticut River Valley (including Haddam), but across state lines as well.

HK News: Tell us a bit about yourself, Cindy.

CW: I grew up in Old Saybrook and then moved to upstate New York where I attended Cobleskill Agricultural College. There, I obtained an Associate’s degree in Business Management. I am an Independent Representative with Primerica Financial Services and I focus on educating families to better understand simple financial concepts so that they can make better financial decisions. In 2018, I became a Certified Transformational Coach. I came to Saybrook Community Church (formerly known as Valley Shore Assembly of God) in 2014, after moving here from New Hampshire in order to take care of my mother. I was in search of a church that encourages growth in Christ. SCC has provided what I was looking for and much more. I am involved in children’s, women’s and fellowship ministries. I am the mother of three boys and have been blessed with five grandchildren. I enjoy sharing God’s word, fishing, swimming, dancing, traveling, and spending time with friends. I believe in every circumstance that, “God’s got it.”

HK News: How did you begin the SCC Free Treasures Den? What/Who motivated and inspired you? Was it a combination of factors?

CW: I began out of my home. The more I collected the more the need grew. I went to the pastor at SCC and asked if he could assist. I needed a room for storage of the items I collected. Soon thereafter, SCC graciously provided me a room. The Pastor’s wife helped me with creating a name for the room/program: “Free Treasures Den.” It is amazing the quality of donations we receive. It really is a “true treasure.”

HK News: What are the primary roles/functions of the SCC Free Treasures Den? What is the mission?

CW: SCC is here to help the community. We collect and distribute slightly used and new clothing, household items, hygiene products and much more – at no charge. SCC has partnered with two local churches and five different organizations in order provide a continuous inventory for the “Free Treasures Den.” In addition, we have also partnered with four homeless shelters – from Norwalk to New London – providing products to those individuals. Monthly trips are made to these shelters to provide them with new socks, undergarments, clothing and hygiene products.  Prayer is always available to those who wish to receive it.

HK News: Where do you see it going from here?

CW: From here – no one knows. I will say that we cover the entire state now, and we even have people coming from Massachusetts to donate as well as “shop” at the Free Treasures Den! At this point, I only see this growing!

HK News: How can people assist and/or find out more about this community support resource?

CW: First and foremost, I want to let people know that we are here for them. Anyone from anywhere can come and utilize this service. We are on Facebook and on Instagram, so, if interested, people can check us out there as well. Specifically, we need more volunteers to help us process the clothing. Currently, our volunteers include church members, members from the Old Saybrook Lions Club, and some of our shoppers have also become volunteers. We also need donations of new and used clothing or funds to purchase them. The greatest need is infant and children’s clothing. I am truly grateful for SCC’s support – financial and otherwise – of this ministry and service. I look forward to the “Free Treasures Den” continuing to be a treasure and blessing throughout our local communities!

Photos provided by Cindy Wallace

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