Shepherd’s Shed, 900 E. Main St., Marion is a clothing charity. Men can come into the store and pickup a suit or other dress clothes for a necessary job interview on Wednesdays. Some mothers will shop for their entire family, for six children.
However, Shepherd’s Shed founder Robin Dicks provides more than just a new pair of jeans. On the signup sheet in the front of the store there are slots for name, family members, shopping for, and a blank asking if they want Dicks to pray for them. Dicks has set aside an area with two chairs where she prays with clients.
It’s appropriate Dicks prays with the shoppers because she said she was called by God to start the charity nine years ago. She thought the idea was crazy; she was already homeschooling her three children and working as a juvenile intake officer for Marion County. God convinced her of the mission when she started getting calls from people wanting to make clothing donations seemingly out of the blue.
Shepherd’s Shed literally started in a shed on North Cedar Street. The space was a donation from Brad and Patty Putter. Eventually, Dicks expanded to the basement of Emmanuel Baptist Church. She moved from that location because the stairs were problematic for disabled customers. The current location on Main Street is the first where Dicks has paid rent. Rent and utilities are paid using donations — some from local churches like Dicks’ Church Good News Christian Fellowship who contributes monthly, Marion Ministerial Alliance, and from private donors. Shepherd’s Shed has yet to miss a payment, although some months it comes down to the wire, Dicks said.
Dicks said the demand for clothing has been markedly consistent. She averages about 10 customers per Wednesday afternoon session. She thought that number would decrease when the St. Luke Auxiliary opened or increase when the economy crashed in 2008.
More than just a consistent ministry, Dicks keeps Shepherd’s Shed going because it is fulfilling. Sometimes she’ll have a customer come into the store and pray for her. Dicks also feels privileged when people share personal stories.
“It’s not all giving out,” she said. “I receive blessings also.”