On the morning of December 10, the staff of the Scott & White Hospice Thrift Shop in Belton joined together in prayer. Then they rang a bell and opened the front doors to the store. And if the first sale of the morning – a couch, end table, dresser and mirror – is any indication, the shop is back in a big way.
Susan Robison, volunteer coordinator for Scott & White Hospice and thrift store manager, couldn’t envision this day back on September 8 when she arrived at the store to find that 42 inches of muddy, murky water from the Nolan River had engulfed the entire business and its contents.
Tropical Storm Hermine passed through Central Texas quickly, but left a rain-soaked swath in its path that consumed most of downtown Belton. The water took only 30 minutes to fill the store, and four hours to recede. About $100,000 worth of merchandise and fixtures were destroyed.
The store has been a fixture in Belton since 2000, and all sales support the needs of hospice patients who are supported in their final months of life by Scott & White.
“We help supplement funds for underinsured patients so that they can obtain needed things like prescriptions, home care and even food,” explained Robison. “Our goal is to allow them to die with the dignity they deserve.”
Even while the flood waters continued to lap at the receiving dock located at the rear of the store, donations began pouring in once word got out about the damage the store had sustained.
“We immediately moved a 40-foot storage container we had in the back of the store out into the parking lot in front and began accepting items people were dropping off,” Robison said.
Donations included a 12-foot Christmas tree, which is placed in the mall each year for collecting presents for hospice patients, a freezer to store food for meals, non-perishable food items, clothing, toys, furniture and household goods.
While volunteers including students and staff from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor concentrated during the first several days on cleaning out the mud from the store, the donations continued to pile up. The local Mayflower storage facility began taking the full containers away for storage and replacing them with empty ones.
Robison noted donations were coming from as far away as Waco, Sun City, Austin, and Round Rock. “I think people were, and continue to be, so generous because we try to be very good stewards of their merchandise,” she explained. “When you look at everything in this store, it reflects the respect and love for our agency, and for Scott & White.”
Once the store was refurbished from ceiling to floor, including painting, new fixtures and carpet, the monumental task of restocking faced Robison and her staff.
“I remember standing there looking at mountains of merchandise that we needed to go through and feeling a little overwhelmed, but then I remembered that all of these items represent the trust and confidence the community has in use. They know we are doing the right thing.
“There’s no more mud in this store,” Robison said. “Just a mountain of love.”
The Scott & White Hospice Thrift Shop is located at 601 E Central Ave. in Belton and is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. seven days a week, excluding major holidays. Donations are welcome during regular business hours. The entire staff wishes to thank the community—especially the Scott & White employees and physicians—who made contributions to make their reopening possible.