LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For many this holiday season, spending money intentionally has become increasingly more important. A Lexington woodshop gives people a great option to snag one-of-a-kind gifts while helping people in the community.
Iron sharpens iron. Man sharpens man. That is the idea behind the Iron Bridge Woodshop. Started as an initiative of Six Treasures Ministries about six years ago, Robert Littrell is the founder.
"I would have homeless men at my house for years helping me do projects, and I made a couple of cutting boards. Somebody wanted to buy them, and next thing I know, we're selling a lot of cutting boards," Littrell recounted.
Now, they have moved inside this woodshop off National Avenue. Inside, volunteers work alongside homeless men and women, making beautiful pieces and building life-changing relationships. Many of them have no experience before walking through the door.
"One of the neatest things is to pair a guy up with a volunteer, or actually a couple of our homeless friends will train some of our volunteers," Littrell said.
Nat Buck has been coming to the woodshop to sharpen his skills for about three years. He was homeless and coming out of a deep depression when he arrived. He now has his own apartment.
"It gives you a network of support is really what it does. It's enjoyable," Buck said of Iron Bridge.
He said the community and care he has found at the woodshop had changed his life.
"They got me. Whatever they need, I'm doing," Buck said emphatically.
This year has been different due to COVID-19. They had to shut down for two months, some of their men are locked down at the Hope Center, and, of course, masks and temperature checks are being enforced. Something that has not changed, though, is that every dollar goes right back to their mission. They have helped men and women find housing and pay medical bills. The woodshop gives them a place for a good meal, a chance to do laundry and shower, but, most of all, it gives them a purpose.
"I think having a good healthy place to be and having something good to do is very valuable," Littrell said.
And it is a purchase to feel good about.
For more about the Iron Bridge Woodshop, visit https://www.ironbridgewoodshop.com/.
Or check out their shop on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ironbridgewoodshop/.