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Ministry is P.U.S.H.-ing in the right direction

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By Shaina Stockton, Staff

A Galax ministry is helping the elderly, the hungry and young men in need of life skills with a variety of innovative programs.

P.U.S.H. Ministries Pastor Jill Burcham and Women of Purpose director Tammy Keys unlocked the door and entered the large building on Main Street in Galax, a store formerly known as Chelsi’s Place.
Keys took a seat behind the counter at the front, while Burcham made herself at home in her favorite chair, one that is currently for sale amongst the varied inventory that filled the building.
“That is her favorite spot,” Keys laughed, and joked about what Burcham would do once it was sold. Burcham smiled, but noted that the proceeds from the sale would go to a much better cause.
P.U.S.H. stands for "Pray Until Something Happens," but Burcham and Keys are taking action to make their vision a reality.
Since January, Burcham, Keys and other members of P.U.S.H. Ministries have been busy converting the new space into a permanent location for their Surrogate Daughter Estate Sale, a program designed to raise money for the elderly through sales of furniture, clothing, home decor and various other assortments.
“The Surrogate Daughter started for me in Florida, when I had to spend a long period of time in a retirement community with my parents,” Burcham began, sinking back in her favorite chair. “I found out there that no matter how much money or social position you had, at a certain age, it becomes difficult to take in all of the medical and insurance paperwork, and all of the other paperwork that has to be done.”

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Burcham noticed additional financial burdens fall upon those who had lost their spouses and were left with even more expenses that come with funeral services and the taking over financial responsibilities. “These people can lose all that they’ve worked 40-60 years for,” she said.
After spending some time there, Burcham took a proactive approach to help other people who were staying at the home. “They named me their ‘surrogate daughter,’ and that’s where I got the name for the program,” she smiled.
In 2009, when Burcham returned to Virginia, she saw the same needs here that she saw back in Florida. “Seniors are making choices between buying medicine or paying their electric bill; buying groceries or paying their water bill. Some don’t make enough on Social Security to live a secure life, and with the rise in taxes and electricity, they don’t know how they are going to survive,” said Burcham.
Two years later, after the ministry had met Keys, they encountered a couple that came to P.U.S.H. for help.
“They were ready to lose their home, and didn’t know how they would survive,” Burcham remembered.
The couple had inherited a property with a couple of houses sitting on it. Upon entering the house, they found a collection of antiques.
Thus, the Surrogate Daughter Estate Sale was born. They began by taking pictures of the house and its contents, then Keys researched the worth of each item.
“Clients sign off on [the price]. We give them what the product is worth, then they decide what they want to sell it for. Clients are fully involved throughout the process,” explained Burcham.
Once the products are sold, the family gets the profit to help pay their bills.
The business grew from there as more and more clients signed up with their own collections of unwanted items. At the moment, they are handling personal estate sales from 12 different clients.
To market the products to an even wider audience, the photos are posted on P.U.S.H. Ministries’ website, as well as a Surrogate Daughter Estate Sale Facebook page. This move, Burcham said, kick-started the market. Not only were items being sold locally, but they started receiving shipping requests from as far as Alabama.
However, they still didn’t have a base for the program.
After partnering with Rooftop of Virginia Community Action Program in 2012, Chad McMillian of P.U.S.H. was approached by Helen and Conley Kyle, who had recently started a business in downtown Galax but found that they didn’t have sufficient time to devote to it.
“They asked if we would be interested in taking the space,” Burcham said of the old Colonial building on North Main Street.
Along with the 3,500-square-foot building, the Kyles also included the rest of the store’s inventory in their donation.
After moving in collections from Surrogate Daughter’s growing list of clients, the large space quickly filled up. “We have everything in the store from furniture, accessories, china, clothes, wedding dresses, carpets, rugs... anything anybody could want,” Burcham said.
Not only does Surrogate Daughter handle yard and estate sales, but they also assist with the paperwork involved with bill-paying, insurance, contracts and appointments. Personalized classes and speakers are also available upon request.
Since January, the business was only open on Saturdays, but now that it’s warmer, they are looking to expand their hours to 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.
“We will also be open during any special event, and people interested can call and request special appointments,” Burcham added.
Not only do the sales benefit the clients, but they also provide an opportunity for the public to purchase quality products at affordable prices — and feel good about where their money is going, Burcham said.
Those who are interested are welcome to donate items to the estate sale, provided that the item is in good, sellable condition.

The Surrogate Daughter Estate Sale is located at 117 N. Main St. in Galax, in the former Chelsi’s Place building. For more information about this program or other programs through P.U.S.H. Ministries,
call (276) 236-7131, ext. 224, or (276) 235-1059; visit pushministries.org; or find The Surrogate Daughter
Estate Sale Page on Facebook.