Store Owner Finds A Way To Give Back To Her Community

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

Some eastern Kentuckians find a way to save money on clothes & household items and help feed hungry kids at the same time.

As gas and food prices rise, more and more people in Owsley County are turning to a local thrift store to stretch their cash.

WYMT’s Marie Luby visited the store's owner to find out why the benefit is two-fold.

Owsley County Outreach Volunteers run what's known as 'The Mall' in Booneville.

It started with a little bit of cash, and one woman's need to do something about a problem she saw every day.

Cleda Turner says she grew up poor in Owsley County, and counted on her community to help her family make ends meet.

It's why nothing in her Booneville thrift store costs more than ten dollars.

“When I was growing up, school, church, the community was the backbone,” Turner said.

Donations from churches and Masonic temples are the backbone of this store.

Even the space in this basement is donated.

Turner says every penny goes toward a backpack program to feed more than 100 kids in Owsley County.

She got the idea from a friend, after she noticed a disturbing trend at the elementary school where she worked.

“I noticed that the kids were coming in and they were just gorging themselves with both hands and they couldn't wait to get through the breakfast line. So I asked and I was told a lot of these kids eat lunch Friday and don't eat again until they came back to breakfast Monday morning,” Turner said.

She started two years ago with 200 dollars out of her own pocket and now depends on the store and private grants to send food packages home with kids even during the summer.

Turner says she doesn't feel like she's giving back; she says she's just doing what God called her to do.

“I mean I was going to retire and sit on my porch and rock, and then I started this and it was like a slap in the face, you know, 'wake up girl. you're doing this for me,” Turner said.

Turner is grateful for the help she had as a child.

She says people who donate or shop here, are helping her pay it forward.

It wasn't easy getting the project off the ground.

Cleda Turner says they didn't have heat or air conditioning for the first year the store was open.

Now they're already outgrowing it, and Turner is writing more grant requests while they look for a bigger place.


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  • by unknown on Dec 20, 2010 at 04:53 PM
    I feel the outreach of owsley county has a very rude and disrespectful director I pray and hope she is caught for her wrong doing She knows and so does god She has mistreated a mother and two small kids in a lot of bad ways used them also to fix up the outreach ruth house then kicked them out in the cold I hope the outreach is proud of her Is this the way the outreach works if so someone needs to put a stop to it
  • by Anonymous on Jan 3, 2010 at 10:27 AM
    I would like to thank All who make up the Owsley Outrach. Without the help of prayers, food, clothing and many other items this could not be the Helping program that it is. Each person who gives is this Program of helping those in need. The only I in this Program is God and we are only a tool. Thanks and share this program with others so they can receive a blessing by helping with these needs.. Look for the next newsletter for news on what WE all are doing if not by hands on then with other ways. God bless This program in 2010 as it has the last 3 years. Let us not forget but for the Grace of God there go I!
  • by Patricia T. Hyden Location: Northern Kentucky on Dec 30, 2008 at 03:34 PM
    I would like Make these comments to Thank the donators that give their time, money, items, loading the buses that bring the items down to OC This bus made 3 trips in one week to bring items and a round trip was made to see Father Beiting in Louisa Kentucky, then back to home,to bring over 1700 lbs of food to share with the needy. If anyone in OC know of a family in need PLEASE tell them of the Outreach. This Program was started because the need was seen and many local people helped in the effort to make it a sucess. The drive was put in Cleda's heart to continue even in the face of Hard times, for the food program. She feels it is Gods special calling to Her. There are many of us, those living in the local area and those who live other places who feel the calling of the needy in Owsley. I am proud to be the Vice President of the Owsley County Outreach. I am proud of the county of which I love. I have had the honor of being a member of 4 work camps who came to OC this summer .
  • by Sporonor's from Northern Kentucky Location: Northern Kentucky on Dec 30, 2008 at 03:05 PM
    I am very thankful to be a sponsor and helper to those in need in the State of which I live. Many are reaching out across this state to help the second poorest county in our Nation. Charity starts at home and together with many Christians we are thankful to be able to bond together and share the love that was so freely given to us by our Lord. Please pray that we can continue. Please put the "news letter sharing the 'doings' of the OCO" We must feed the children and the ones in need plus share Gods love for us all. He set the example by giving us the most wonderful gift of all HIS SON !!!!!!!
  • by Cleda Turner Location: Booneville KY on Dec 3, 2008 at 10:36 AM
    Up Date on our work in Owsley County, the local community folks keep supporting the programs, we continue to pick up more children to send food home for the weekend contine to pray for the one's who pray and support and work in these programs. Owsley community is doing the job. In God We Trust
  • by Julie Location: Indiana on Oct 3, 2008 at 05:55 PM
    We need a up date on this cause, way to go
  • by Anonymous Location: booneville on Sep 10, 2008 at 04:20 PM
    listen every one. what cleda is doing might be wonderful. i live here and her stuff is over priced. if she wants to help stand on corner with a bucket.ive had my first time to really see childern go home with food. and i am in bus line. and pick up line every day.unless she takes it to the homes.ive never heard of any child starving here in owsley county. back in 60's some childern froze to death.i was born here and still live here. and if people do not dress their childern and feed them . they need took out home.and away from drug users. and dealers. and drunks.if you visit the booneville school. you will not kind any child badley dress. the school has stuff there . and if child gets dirty they put clean cloths on them. im sick and tired of some people leaving booneville. and coming back years later. and act like they have save us all. we made it before the turners move back to booneville. and if people are to sorry and lazy to take care of their own. they need remove from homes.
  • by Lucretia Location: Buckhorn on Jul 21, 2008 at 10:48 AM
    Cleda Turner is an amazing person always putting others first. I know her personally and she is the same today as she was yesterday and will be tomorrow. You will not find another Cleda worldwide she is genuine and real. I have visited the store on several occassions and there is absolutely no excuse for children to go poorly clothed. Thanks to awesome donations there are new w/ tags and barely worn clothing @ the store. The pricing is unreal, I once bought a top for 2.00 dollars but the retail value on the tag was 55.00 dollars. I just want to thank Cleda for all her hard work to make Owsley Co. a better place for the Children of the future.
  • by Fay Location: Booneville on Jul 1, 2008 at 06:48 PM
    To help one child is a blessing, so the work should contine, God gave the command help my little one, keep it up
  • by vinceturner@fuse.net Location: Cold Spring on Jun 25, 2008 at 01:40 PM
    For additional information and how to help you can visit: www.owsleycountyoutreach.org It has been a blessing to have such strong support from the Masons. The Booneville Masonic Lodge who donates the basement of their lodge for the thrift store, The Alexandria Masonic Lodge in Campbell County where donations are dropped off and stored in a building they donated in their parking lot on the first and third Saturday of each month. I would also like to thank the people of Owsley County and surrounding community for their support as well as those in Northern Kentucky that donate items to the Owsley County Outreach especially the churches and organizations that continue to support such a good cause right here in our own backyard in the state of Kentucky. Thank You Vince Turner President of Owsley County Outreach
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