Anyone looking to clean out their home or closet this summer could use that as a motivation to do some good in the community by donating used items to a local charity.

There are several local charities in Bastrop, one of which is the Care and Hope Ministry. It's a cooperative ministry of community churches and the Morehouse Baptist Association that operates a thrift store and food distribution center located at located at 2038 E. Madison in the Pines Shopping Center.

The food distribution center distributes food free of charge to persons or families in crisis, those who qualify for public assistance or have very limited household income. Recipients are allowed to receive food once a month and applicants are required to complete and submit applications at the initial visit. The majority of food distributed is from the Northeast Louisiana Food Bank in Monroe.

“It's just a good ministry that serves the community,” Care and Hope Ministry Thrift Store employee Fran Smith said. “We help feed about 500 to 600 families a month.”

Area churches that support the ministry include First Baptist of Bastrop, Bonita Road Baptist, Tillou Baptist, Oak Hill Baptist, Twin Oaks Baptist, Trinity Assembly of God, New Friendship Baptist, Green Acres Baptist, Bethel Baptist, Cherry Ridge Baptist and others.

“Care and Hope is a wonderful asset to our community, not just to Bastrop but to Morehouse Parish,” Dorothy Ford, Executive Director of the Bastrop-Morehouse Chamber of Commerce, said. “Not only do they help them with their basic needs but with their spiritual needs. It's an outstanding organization, and one that I'm proud to support.”

The thrift store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The ministry relies entirely on donations, and they accept any clean, unwanted items. Volunteers are also welcome. For more information, call the thrift store at 239.3484.