Heading Into 19 Years Of Ministry
Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs is now in it’s 19th year of assisting families in need. Over the years the services provided have continued to change as Barry and Theresa Buker strive to help people.
Humanitarian causes were and continue to be important to both Barry and Theresa. It was this common thread that played a part in their romance that led to marriage in 1999.
It was then that the idea of providing household items to families for free was born. At that time, Barry and Theresa were self-employed in a Painting and General Maintenance Business. One primary goal was providing services to homeowners, particularly seniors. The goal was to help enable these seniors to stay in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. In many instances, as these seniors:
- prepared to move to a nursing home,
- or sadly passed away,
household items became available. Often directed by clients to just take these items to the local landfill. However, many of these items were still in very usable condition. Barry got into the habit of asking clients if he could save them landfill costs and give these items to families in need instead.
Clients not only loved the idea of saving money, but also the idea of having their items help someone else. After all, many of these seniors had family members who didn’t want any of these items. Their families’ houses were already full of their own stuff. They didn’t want mom and dad’s stuff too.
So, the repurposing of items began.
In the beginning years the ministry outreach was smaller:
- due to storage limitations,
- 3 kids still at home,
- time restraints while running another full time business,
- and word of mouth hadn’t yet grown to what it is today.
However, by 2009, Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs was impacting thousands of families annually. Barry and Theresa continued to operate their other business 40 hours a week, and then came home and worked another 40 hours a week helping the community.
Gradually items expanded from a few kitchen items to furniture to appliances and even beds. By 2011, paper resources such as the Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs Cookbook were also being handed out. Containing budgeting tips, recipes and more.
In 2016 the Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs website was launched. In an effort to help more people in and outside the community by sharing budgeting strategies, grocery tips, and more. Now the paper and virtual resources have expanded to include:
- Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs Cookbook
- 10 Best Christmas Cookies Recipe Book
- An Organized Guide To Christmas Baking
- Muskoka/Parry Sound Community Assistance Directory
- Basic Budgeting: Beginner’s Budget Worksheet
- Discover Your Crock Pot: Tips & Recipes
- and more
Now Barry and Theresa operate Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs 6 days a week, sometimes 80 hours a week, from their own home.
What once was a part time, after hours community outreach, is now full time.
As both Barry and Theresa are now in their mid to late 50’s, a change needed to occur in 2015. In March of 2015, they shut down the hard physical labor of the Painting & General Maintenance business. Closing this business was a huge leap of faith. This was their primary source of income. In fact, if there was a shortfall of funds in providing the services of Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs, Barry and Theresa made up the difference from their own personal living budget.
But since, 2015 this financial option disappeared. By choice, Barry and Theresa looked at continuing to raise funds for their personal bills through the Painting/General Maintenance business or to step out in faith and full time help the community. They chose to endure financial personal hardship and help the community.
This faith walk is not all a bed of roses. Remember, there are thorns on roses!
Although Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs operates on an annual budget of about $15,000, it is not yet at a point where Barry and Theresa Buker can draw a wage. Nor is it at a point where they can pay anyone else to help with the heavy physical labor involved in this ministry either.
Their personal source of income comes from a small rental property which allows Barry and Theresa, after expenses associated with maintaining the rental property, an income of $1,000 a month. This means that Barry and Theresa are trying to cover their bills, food, and more on $12,000/year.
But they are quick to acknowledge that they chose to obey God and move into full time ministry. Trusting God to pay their bills. Although, even after 2 years not all bills are paid up, they struggle to get by.
Struggling just like many of the clients they serve on a daily basis.
Personal Needs Set Aside
The ministry of Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs is so important to Barry and Theresa that they have put many personal needs aside. Needs such as:
- their own clothing and shoes
- overdue land taxes
- home repairs
- 4 windows need replacing
- 1 exterior wall needs wooden siding replaced and painted
- 2 garage doors need replacing
- one last section of roof needs reshingling—this has been done in sections as money becomes available
- a section of eavestrough needs replacing
- workshop roof needs total reshingling
These are just the most pressing needs at this time. Over the years, these items had been pushed off as being more of a cosmetic issue, but as the disrepair continues it is quickly getting to a point where it is moving to structural concern and issues.
Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs Continues To Grow And Shift
Through all of this, Barry and Theresa are committed to Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs. They look at the humanitarian aid service to the community to be of primary importance. Having always lived in poverty they believe this is what helps keep them humble. Humble before God and to the public they serve. After all, they are in a better position to relate to other people struggling in similar ways.
However, Barry and Theresa know that as their physical bodies continue to age that their ability to move heavy furniture and appliances will change. In fact, Barry is already counting down the days to 2019 when he can start to collect his Canada Pension check. Having always earned an income below the national poverty lines, he is also aware that this check will not be huge, but it should ease a small amount of the current financial burdens.
As the ability to deal with heavy physical items becomes more of an issue, this website is being structured to help you with wisdom. As their bodies begin to fail, their minds are sharp and full of widsom.
Theresa will continue to give you economical recipes and household budgeting tips and cleaning advice. Barry will begin to be a stronger voice on here too as he shares his Godly wisdom and prophetic insights. And as long as God permits their bodies to function, they will continue to keep moving furniture.
Stay tuned as Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs continues to find ways to help EMPOWER you towards a HOPE and a FUTURE.