Rick and Maricruz Szymanski consider helping less fortunate people part of a higher calling.
The couple opened the Give Hope Thrift Shop two months ago in Sun City to benefit widows and orphans around the world, and they hope to help people close to home, too.
“My wife and I, we’ve been missionaries for the last 12 years,” Rick Szymanski said, explaining that they have always worked to help widows and orphans, but when the economy soured, many churches were unable to continue helping fund their efforts.
The Give Hope shop is located in what used to be the Soroptimist Thrift Shop at 107th and Peoria avenues. Rick said that although he and Maricruz live in Surprise, the Sun City location was the ideal spot because the community itself has a high number of widows they hope to help, if needed.
“People are generous; we’ve been getting a lot of donations,” Rick said. He said they obtained a great deal on the store shelving added last week, and the Soroptimist’s donated $3,000 to help the couple’s venture get started.
“People love to take care of widows and orphans,” Rick said. “Our biggest problem is that we don’t have enough volunteers to take care of the store.”
The Symanskis have been busy with the store, and they don’t get much of a break with only four volunteers, Maricruz said.
“We’re pretty tired,” Rick said, adding that they’ve been working 12-hour days, six days a week.
Anyone interested in volunteering can call Rick or simply go into the store. Hours are flexible, and volunteers can do whatever they are most comfortable with, from sorting and pricing donations, making deliveries, or helping customers in the front shop, Rick said.
Rick said he and Maricruz, who are both ordained ministers, have built two orphanages in Uganda, with attached medical clinics, where the students are taught their native language and English, are helping both widows and orphans in India, and help get orphans off the streets in Mexico.
The Szymanskis’ 501-(c)3 corporation, the Give Hope Foundation, is pending approval by the Arizona Corporation Commission, but Rick said that once their bank debt from opening the thrift shop is paid, they will be able to help even more people.
“All we can really do is fund the programs we’ve already started,” Rick said. “Next month, I think we’ll be out of debt.”
One of the reasons the shop really needs more volunteers, Rick said, is because they don’t have enough eyes on the floor to prevent thefts.
“We’re just busting at the seams,” Rick added, saying that not only is the stock room and office overflowing with merchandise, his garage at home is full as well.
The shop will have a grand opening sale on May 25-26, Rick said, and he said he hopes to have more volunteers by then.
“It’s been fun getting in, seeing all these little miracles coming in,” Rick said, pointing to all the customers mingling around the shop.
The Give Hope Thrift Shop is located at 10705 W. Peoria Ave. in Sun City. Rick Szymanski can be reached at 623-523-9440.