Christmas shopping for free?

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

It was a child’s Christmas shopping paradise. Imagine getting to shop for quality gifts for everyone in your family and having them beautifully gift wrapped - all for free.

All this was made possible not only for children, but for families as well through the generosity of people at the Cornerstone Baptist Church at Milan and others, this Christmas season.

“It’s not me, give God the glory!” insisted Pastor Rick Mosley’s wife, Judy, who spearheaded the program. She said she had a vision earlier in the year and knew there was a need for this type of ministry in the area they serve.

Overwhelmed with the response, Judy said she knew she had followed what God had laid on her heart. The first shopping day was Saturday, December 1. This was for children only. “They brought their little lists and did their own shopping,” Judy said with a smile. She said they picked out items for whoever they wanted, and then sat patiently waiting for their gifts to be wrapped. Some dads may receive sunglasses with rhinestones, but those gifts were picked from the heart! Over 300 gifts went out the door that day, home with children with smiles on their faces reflecting their happiness. “I’ve never been so touched and so blessed,” Judy said softly. “The children waited so patiently to have their gifts wrapped. It was so touching,” she continued.

Then on Tuesday, December 4 the free store was open to the adults of the community to shop. Again, everything was free and there were no restrictions such as income limit. It was for everyone. “We probably had 50 or more adults that shopped that day,” noted Mary Wainscott, who said she was happy to help with the project. She agreed with Judy by saying their goal was to help the community in any way they could. Saturday, December 8 was the last shopping day with the anticipation of many shoppers once again.

The gifts were new quality items, ranging from a variety of toys, clothing of all sorts, tapes, books, Christmas decorations, CD’s, dishes, household items, candles, sunglasses, hair bows of all sorts, hygiene items, about $30,000 worth of merchandise in all, according to Rev. Mosley.

One of the volunteers, Mrs. Gladys Burton, noted that she had some phone calls saying people were in need of gently used clothing, including coats, shoes and winter items. Along with others in the congregation, they responded to that need by setting up another room in the church with a variety of good used clothing people could look through, again at no cost.

The Mosleys were thankful for the support of their congregation, which is small in number, but “mighty in spirit,” according to them. “Everyone pitched right in, we couldn’t have done it without them,” Judy noted. From people like Ron Myers, who helped with loaning a trailer to haul the merchandise, to the Wainscotts, who used their personal vehicle, to those who sorted, organized, and wrapped gifts, the small congregation of about 30 performed a small miracle in the town of Milan in the last two weeks.

The Mosleys said they have connections with a much larger church in Illinois where they do this sort of program. They were able to obtain the merchandise mostly through that church, they just had to go get it. “We can see things people need that we didn’t have this year, such as baby clothes and items,” noted Judy. She said they will focus on some of those things for next year. Yes, next year the organizers are planning another free store event, hoping to reach even more people. “We really didn’t advertise on a large scale this year because we didn’t know how people would respond,” Judy stated. Next year they plan to have even more merchandise available and let more people know about the great opportunity.

The little independent church is very mission oriented. Pastor Mosley said, “When God gave the greatest gift of all, this is the least we could do.” Their goal is to “reach souls for Christ.”

No one seemed to mind that they were giving up precious time during the holiday season. Matter of fact, last Saturday, you could find several of the church goers at the free store helping people for the last day it was open.

Pastor Mosley admitted he was a busy man, a preacher, public school teacher, and an arbitrator for the lemon law in several states. But, he wouldn’t miss being at the free store on Saturday, and along with wife, Judy, thanked everyone who had any part in giving to others this season. “You see how mighty something can be when God is in it,” concluded Judy.

The Mosleys invite others to get involved with this ministry and may do so by calling the church at 654-9824. They have pastored at the church located at Franklin and Morrel streets in Milan for the past seven years.


Volunteers were in place Saturday morning at the free store at the Cornerstone Baptist Church at Milan. Pictured from left: Mary Wainscott, Judy Mosley, Gladys and Melvin Burton, were just some of the volunteers who helped with the program. They had about $30,000 worth of items that were available to the public.