KEMPNER — When Anthony Cary arrived at Ruby’s Porch Sharing Center & Free Store beside the Kempner United Methodist Church, he didn’t know what to expect. 

But what he found at the small white house was free furniture.

“It’s wonderful of the church to do this and we’re very thankful,” Cary said as he loaded two cushioned chairs into his truck.

Another woman who just received custody of her grandchildren took home a free high chair, and someone else got a free oak dining room table with chairs.

Ruby’s Porch had its grand opening Saturday and it was a dream come true for the country church. The house was named for the late owner who donated it to the church.

“For the past 20 years, we’ve done quarterly clothing giveaway, but we collected so much that we decided to do it every month, and this month we added household goods,” said Ony Phillips Degraw, the lay leader of the church.

Ruby’s Porch is open the second Saturday of the month from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., but Zermeno said with more volunteers, Ruby’s Porch could be open more often.

“Now we have a place to keep the clothes and household items, so we can do a monthly giveaway and do even more good,” Rev. Adrienne Zermeno said. “Even in an emergency situation when someone needs something, they can contact the church and come see what we have.”

Church member Ann Mitchell is in charge of the church’s Solomon’s Food Pantry, which gives away canned, packaged and some fresh food, when available.

“We try to help as many people as we can and we never turn anyone away,” Mitchell said.

Margo Jones, a recent single parent, received several bags of food, including fresh meat.

“I heard about this church helping people like me, and it’s so wonderful that they do this for anyone,” Jones said.

In the fellowship hall, tables lined the walls with piles of clothes divided for men, women and children.

New mom Heidi Miller selected outfits for her 5-week-old baby girl, Sasha.

“Free is good especially for baby clothes, because they grow so fast,” Miller said. “I’m glad they do this for the public.”

For more information on Ruby’s Porch and Solomon’s Food Pantry, call 512-932-3011.

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