The Lakeside Church, in Oakland, has operated a single-mothers ministry called Unforsaken Women Corporation for about six years, and church members found they were constantly trying to come up with fundraisers to keep the ministry afloat.
In order to better serve the mission, Mo Mydlo founded Unforsaken Treasures Resale Shop, in Oakland, which allows people to make donations of items to help sustain the program. The mission reaches women and children on a local and global level. A grand opening was held July 15.
The shop sells men's, women's and children's clothing and shoes, as well as accessories and jewelry, toys, household decor and some furniture, at resale prices. A boutique in the front of the shop boasts costume jewelry and an assortment of cocktail dresses and floor-length gowns.
“We were excited to be the only resale shop in Oakland, and we realized we needed more warehouse space than retail space,” Mydlo said. “And we wanted to be somewhere that we could be in partnership with Lakeside Church so this could be an offsite benevolent center for them. It worked out to be right in their backyard.”
The shop is situated behind the church, which is at the western end of Oakland Avenue. Jimi Klein, the outreach director at Lakeside Church, is the store manager.
Proceeds benefit Unforsaken Women Corporation, which assists single mothers and widows in West Orange County, as well as a Haitian school.
Probably the most important international work of the UWC is its partnership with Priority One Worldwide, a nonprofit that financially supports The Good Samaritan Academy in Morisseau, Haiti. This mountain town three hours from Port-A-Prince has never been reached before, Mydlo said, and she is proud that these students are hearing the gospel.
The program supports five teachers, one principal and 140 students.
“They get lunch, supplies, uniforms,” Mydlo said. “They get to go to school, which I love love love. It's a Christian education.”
Locally, the single-mothers ministry is called The Vineyard. It provides enrichment scholarships so children can participate in cost-prohibitive activities such as gymnastics or flag football. Free tutoring is available for elementary-school students, and mothers can receive free counseling. A quarterly single moms coffee club lets women gather for discussions on topics such as couponing or inexpensive makeup tips.
A “man training group” brings in Godly men from the community to teach life skills to the boys of single mothers, “everything from how to throw a spiral football to how to treat a lady, how to use jumper cables, how to fix things,” Mydlo said.
In addition, household expenses are occasionally covered to keep these mothers from going into homelessness.
A new widow support group recently formed, as well.
UWC also supports a television ministry. Mydlo tapes “Moments with Mo” segments for the Welcome Home show on The Good Life TV 45. She films four a month, and the short, four-minute teaching segments help encourage people in the Lord and help them renew their mind in the word of God, she said.
Mydlo is excited about the various ministries of UWC. Once a month, a women's community event and Bible study is extended to females from all area churches. Attendees come together for worship, food, testimonies and an encouraging message from Mydlo.
A food pantry is coming to the Unforsaken Treasures space in November, and Lakeside is hosting a food drive from Oct. 1 to 30. The community can donate non-perishable food items during store hours, and the Faebook page has a list of suggested donations.
Mydlo has shared her thoughts in a blog on the store's website, unforsakentreasuresresaleshop.com:
“Life isn’t always easy. God never promised that to us. … Jesus never promised us a life free of misery and pain, He simply promised that we would never have to face it alone.
“God is right there with us when we face life’s struggles and pain. He tells us, 'You are Unforsaken!'
Unforsaken Women Corp. is all about coming alongside those that are hurting and letting them know that there is an expiration date on their pain, and while it is still happening, we are here to lift them up, encourage them and keep them focused on the only true healer and redeemer Jesus Christ.”