Olive Branch Moves to Business District
The Olive Branch, an outreach of Salem United Methodist Church which combines a store offering fair trade items with a gathering place for community activities, will hold its grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 5. Located at 11160 Perry Highway (across from Dunkin’ Donuts) in Wexford, the store will feature one-of-a-kind gifts, jewelry and other items made by impoverished artisans from around the world.
The Olive Branch will be open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Salem UMC has been operating The Olive Branch at the church on Manor Road in Pine for more than 40 years.
“By relocating The Olive Branch to a retail location among other businesses, we will be better able to expand it's appeal to the entire community, and especially to those people who are looking for unique gifts, but have few options in the area,” said Mary Sheehan, a founder of The Olive Branch. “We will be carrying handcrafted items from Ten Thousand Villages, SERRV and other fair trade organizations.”
Over the years, volunteers have taken the Olive Branch on the road, setting up displays and selling items at Western PA Annual Conference sessions and at Mission u, formerly known as the Cooperative School of Christian Mission. The vision after the move, however, is to become more than a store.
“Since the store will be in a highly visible place, we also see it as a gathering place to bring together other churches, community groups, non-profit organizations and individuals to share thoughts and hold meetings that benefit our community,” said the Rev. Beth Nelson, pastor of Salem United Methodist Church.
“Our overall vision is for The Olive Branch to be a place to connect people who want to make a difference with ways to do that. For instance, there might be a evening devoted to making blankets for the homeless or a community program on literacy. It will also serve as a collection point for various items, including food products needed by North Hills Community Outreach Food Bank. We think the possibilities for community projects and activities are limitless, and we look forward to hearing ideas from the community.”
For more information about The Olive Branch, visit olivebranchwexford.org.