Seeds of Faith brings dreams to fruition
Seeds of Faith is more than just a thrift store. It’s a food pantry, a place of prayer, a place for Bible study, and a true community center dedicated to providing resources to anyone in need.
Jaxx Smith, Angela Bryan, and Brother Dennis Dodson, the creators of Seeds of Faith, met while attending Guest Baptist Church in Fyffe, Alabama, and their vision for ministry work was born during a mission trip the three attended in Belize.
Smith and Bryan approached pastor Brother Dodson with plans of one day building tiny homes to house women exiting faith-based recovery programs. Brother Dodson became their “voice of reason” and number-cruncher agreeing whole-heartedly to join their efforts.
Guided by the Lord, the three returned home from Belize in May 2021 and got to work, building what would become the Seeds of Faith thrift store, next to the Piggly Wiggly in downtown Collinsville.
“Angela and I cleaned out our closets, and we started doing yard sales on the side of the road anywhere we could set up for free. Selling just stuff from our closets, friends would give us some stuff… We were giving out free Bibles and praying with people and just talking to them,” Smith said.
After a few short months, overwhelmed with donations, Bryan, Smith, and Dodson, moved into a building in downtown Collinsville in October of 2021. By Nov. 3, their doors were open, and the community was welcomed inside.
“People found out what we were doing. They kept donating, and by September, we had so much stuff that we could no longer load our vehicles and set up for yard sales. So, we started looking for a building,” Smith continued.
“When the Lord gets a hold of something, he'll grow it at his pace. Sometimes you just got to hang on to the tail of his robe,” Smith said with a smile as she reflected on how quickly the community supported and grew their nonprofit.
Now, the three have a thriving thrift store and have started a food pantry that distributes boxes of food once a month for any community member who asks. Any item, including clothing, furniture, and toys, that is deemed unfit for sale is set up in front of the store and free for any person to come and take.
The food pantry was something Smith, Bryan, and Brother Dodson all agreed was the next step in serving the community. “Sometimes [people] don't have anything to eat. So, you give them food. And you don't ask questions. You don't ask, ‘do you really need this?’ No, it's you came. You get food,” said Smith.
Smith and Bryan started their journey together with a much broader dream in mind. “We knew that longer term goal. We wanted to create a community for women coming out of faith-based recovery programs to have an opportunity for a transition between the completion of their 6-month or 12-month program and being completely 100% independent again,” Smith explained.
They dreamed of tiny houses and on-site support and accountability where the women could experience independence without losing a sense of community. While she couldn’t disclose where, Smith revealed that they are in the process of finalizing a lease for the property in Dekalb County that will one day house these women.
“[Our goal is] walking alongside women who have been in life struggles that maybe not everybody's been in, but just like them, everybody needs somebody to walk alongside them and encourage them in their daily lives,” said Bryan.
Holding back tears, Bryan explained how touched she’s been by the opportunity to share God with the community and build the thrift store. “These people are my daily life. They're my friends and my prayer partners. They pray with me, and I pray with them. And it's all about the people.”
Volunteers help run the thrift store now, and Seeds of Faith will be looking for more volunteers in the future to help with all things construction, landscaping, and even prayer. “I mean, there are so many places that somebody's skill set can be useful. And for those who feel like ‘I don't have a skill set’, please pray, just pray. We can't do anything else until we pray,” said Smith.
If you’d like to donate or volunteer, you can contact Seeds of Faith by phone at 256-801-2853 or in person at 592 S. Valley Ave. in Collinsville.