First West Thrift helping ministries across our area

First West Thrift Store donated more than $3,000 and numerous bags of free baby clothes to Life Choices of North Central Louisiana located in Ruston.

by Malcolm Butler

This past winter, Phillip Thigpen received a phone call from a volunteer at Life Choices of North Central Louisiana in Ruston.

The non-profit organization that helps pregnant women was in need of newborn baby clothes.

Thigpen, who is in his eighth year as the Director of First West Thrift Store in West Monroe, came through.

A couple of phone conversations later, and First West Thrift Store donated a number of bags of baby clothes to Life Choices of Ruston.

After all, it’s a big part of what they do.

“Our mission is to see to it that no one misses the grace of God,” said Thigpen. “We do this by supporting ministries in our area who are touching people in their time of need. Our heart is not to duplicate services but rather come along side ministries and support them financially in their ministry.”

And it didn’t stop there.

A few months later, Life Choices of Ruston was in need again. And like clockwork, First West Thrift Store came to their rescue.

This time not only did they provide free clothes, but they used their monthly ministry highlight day to raise funds. On the third Thursday of each month, First West picks a ministry and donates all sales proceeds on that day to that ministry.

First West chose Life Choices of Ruston for their ministry in May. And in early June, Thigpen not only delivered some more bags of free baby clothes, but also a check for $3,211.

Kathleen Richard, the Director of Life Choices of North Central Louisiana, knows the impact that the generosity of First West Thrift Store has on the organization and thus the families that utilize it.

“When a community comes together, it makes a difference,” said Richard. “Life Choices is able to have a positive impact on young, vulnerable families because partners like First West Thrift Store are willing to join into the work with us. We are forever grateful for their partnership.”

First West Thrift Store is in the business of helping ministries, financially supporting 20-plus ministries in northeast Louisiana. In fact over the last four years, they have invested over $1 million in ministries in the area. They have budgeted close to $300,000 for 2022 to assist with places such as homeless shelters, food distribution centers and organizations that help children.

Some of the places include Life Choices of North Louisiana; Life Choices of NE Louisiana, Salvation Army Homeless Shelter, The Renewal Center, Mercy Multiplied, Prison Ministry, Grace Place, Rays of Sonshine, Broaden Horizons, Project Help, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and more.  

 “We do not do this without the donors, shoppers and volunteers; all the people who support us are the ones who are touching lives,” said Thigpen. 

The First West Thrift Store is the largest thrift store in North Louisiana at over 13,000 square feet of retail space.

“We have the largest used furniture selection in North Louisiana,” said Thigpen. “We sell household items, home décor, clothes, electronics, books and much more.”

They even have a specialty section where they display new items.

First West Thrift Store has discount days where they provide discounts, including Senior Discount Day (Mondays for 55 years and old), Military Discount Day (Wednesdays) and College Student Day (Fridays). Individuals in those categories receive a 20 percent discount with an ID (furniture is not included).

Thigpen said First West Thrift Store accepts donations and even offers furniture pickups. The store is located at 1 Stella Mill Street in West Monroe. Individuals can contact them at 318-410-0999.

Store hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Donation drop off closes each day one hour before the store closes.

Individuals can follow First West Thrift Store at



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