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Bookstore has multi-faceted mission

CHAMPAIGN -- A new bookstore opened in town this week and the owner says there's not another one like in anywhere in the country.
CHAMPAIGN -- A new bookstore opened in town this week and the owner says there's not another one like in anywhere in the country. The books are all used and priced at less than $2 each. When you find out where the money goes, it makes the deal even more special. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera has the details.

The founder says she stumbled on the idea by accident. Beth Wendling collected books donated to her; ones owners no longer want. She uses them to help kids no one wants either.

Books have the power to bring people together. They help us see what a better life could be like.

Our story starts with a main character, Beth Wendling, who had a few things left over after a garage sale.

"I listed eight books online just as a fluke," said Wendling. 

But the money from those books wouldn't be for her. The daughter of an orphaned mother and abused father had other plans.

"I really felt like God tapped me on the shoulder to do this," said Wendling. "It was an easy thing to say yes to because I had seen the effects of what happened with my mom and my dad."

Since history hadn't been kind to her family, she wanted to turn the page on their story. So with help from volunteers and total strangers, her collection grew.

"I'd come out to get my morning paper with a coffee cup and here would be people I didn't even know dropping off boxes of books on the porch," said Wendling. 

All the profit she gets from selling books goes to help orphaned children, locally and globally.

Then comes our supporting character, Barbra King.

"What I really love is being able to be a part of something that gives," said King. 

This cause is also close to King's heart.

"Orphan care is something that's a big part of our life," said King. "Adoption is one way that our family has grown."

It's grown just like the Orphans Treasure Box, which King helped set up in this new space.

"We have a large online store and we have a large outlet store," said King. "It seemed impossible, but it actually is possible."

The ending here is still a mystery, but Wendling says she's fine with that.

"What God will do with that, I don't know," said Wendling. "But every door he opens, we will walk through."

Orphans Treasure Box has given away close to $50,000 the past three years. The store is open Saturday from 9 am - 1 pm. During the week, it is open from 9 am - 2:30 pm.

The store is at 826 Pioneer Street in Champaign. 

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