ERIE, Illinois -
A longtime thrift shop that helps others now needs assistance itself.
The village of 1,600 residents in Whiteside County is donating land for a new location in Erie, Illinois.
Sara Johnson, who began volunteering back in 1998, will manage it.
"Sara is someone who just shows passion in everything she does," said Linda Wuerzburger, Erie, who nominated her for a "Pay it Forward" award.
Snapshots reveal that King's Kloset is more than just a store. It offers outreach to individuals, families and groups. That's tougher for Sara after losing its location in early 2018.
"She's a little gal with a big heart is the best way to explain her," Linda said.
That's prompting a visit from Victoria Keninger from Ascentra Credit Union.
"Linda, thank you for nominating Sara," Victoria said. "She is just an outstanding example of what we value at Ascentra - listening, caring and doing what's right. On behalf of Ascentra Credit Union, I present you with $300."
After volunteering for 20 years, Sara Johnson is about to get a big surprise.
"On behalf of WQAD News Eight and Ascentra Credit Union, we're giving you $300 to Pay it Forward," Linda said.
King's Kloset helps groups like the Erie Food Pantry. Those cash donations replenish shelves. Dozens of families meet their emergency food needs each month.
But King's Kloset needs to come up with some $20,000 to begin building its new site.
"It is essential," Sara said. "We cannot keep helping people until we get up and running."
Reasons why it's hosting a fundraiser on July 14, 2018, at St. Ambrose Parish in Erie. The event will run from Noon-4 p.m. that day. It will feature a hog roast, baked goods, gift baskets and a specially-made cookbook.
Monetary donations are also welcome at: King's Kloset - P.O. Box 344; Erie, IL 61250.
All this comes at a crucial time. King's Kloset hopes to reopen by the end of 2018.
For Sara Johnson, it's a mission on the move.
"Nobody should ever be ashamed to ask for help," Johnson concluded. "Everybody's been at that point at one time or another. It feels good to give back and help so many people."