KENNETT, MO (KFVS) - "Hello, how you all doing?"
When you walk into Leonard's and Virgie's Place in downtown Kennett, Missouri, you're greeted like family.
"She helps everybody," said Roy Jones. "You know she doesn't just help the low income people. She actually helps working people who work every day, but maybe aren't making a substantial amount of money to support them and their family."
Beverly Thomas started Leonard's and Virgie's Place in honor of her parents, who were known in the community for helping others.
"They always did it from the heart," said Beverly. "And they always gave people the dignity and the respect that all God's creatures deserve. And they instilled in me the values and morals and different things that I needed."
So she took those morals and turned them into a business practice.
Everything in her store is free.
If you need help, she'll do everything in her power to give you that help.
A mission she says she was destined to follow.
"I became very ill and an angel visited me and the angel told me that this was what I had to do," said Beverly.
Last year,, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The enormous cost of fighting the disease means she has less money to put back into the store, which runs solely on donations.
So what keeps her going?
"It's the love," she said. "I enjoy people and it's not about money. I've never received any salary. I don't expect any salary, because the pay that I'm getting man cannot see and I just love doing what I do."
But she sees that payment every day in the lives she changes.
"This is what it's all about, sharing and caring," Beverly said. "And letting people know that things for free there isn't always a catch. There are some good things that are free."
Beverly makes sure of it.
"I still want to do something for somebody every day and in some way touch their hearts. And you know I tell everybody that I help to please pass it on because when you divide love it will multiply. That's what my parents used to tell us."
"When they come here they can get clothing or they can get food but they can also get a word of encouragement, a word of faith," said Pemiscot County Initiative Network Executive Director David Fullhart. "Beverly is a woman of faith and that's what keeps her strong and keeps her going. And sometimes that word can mean more than the clothes on your back or the food in your stomach."
She gives hope to the downtrodden and a hand to anyone who reaches out.
Because she knows hope is what carries us.
"Because at Virgie's Place hope is never silent."
If you'd like to donate to Leonard's and Virgie's Place call (573) 888-2280 or send donations to:
239 North Main Street
Kennett, MO 63857
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