over $1,000,000 invested in NELA

The First West Thrift Store is a thrift store that is committed to investing its profits to make a difference in Northeast Louisiana. Since the store has opened, the store has invested over $1,000,000 to organizations and ministries. We want to help bring hope to Northeast Louisiana. When you donate items or shop with us, we use the proceeds to bless those in need. Here are our ministry and non-profit partners.

88.7 FM The Cross

We are a radio station devoted to honoring God, loving His people, and serving the community of North Louisiana. We work to encourage and strengthen our listeners, introduce a life-changing Jesus to those who don’t know Him, and connect together a group of listeners in North Louisiana through prayer, great music, and fun events. We are blessed to be able to minister beyond Louisiana through worldwide streaming, Facebook, Twitter, and social gatherings everywhere. Our motto is: “Love. Hope. Family.”

As a non-profit station, 88.7 “The Cross” is designed to operate from the pledges and prayers of those desiring to keep our station(s) on the air in this area. We do accept some underwriting from those businesses who believe in supporting this ministry or wanting to support elements of our programs. We consider all these to be partners in the ministry with us.

We handle all donations and other monies with full transparency and accountability. Pledged donations will always be the foundation of our ability to uncompromisingly minister to northeast Louisiana in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. As long as there are enough listeners who invest into this ministry, we’ll continue to serve northeast Louisiana and beyond.

We take that responsibility seriously and work to celebrate life on the air with information, music, events, and contests while we stay true to our ministry calling.

KBMQ 88.7 is owned by Media Ministries, Inc., a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. 88.7 The Cross has joined its sister-station, KBYO-FM “Power927.FM, in serving this area. Power927.FM plays positive Hip Hop and R&B.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross only organization chartered by Congress to provide relief, the American Red Cross provides disaster assistance for free – made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.  Last year the North Louisiana region:

  • Responded to 1,530 local disasters
  • Helped 2,000 families rebuild their lives following a disaster
  • Provided 22,300 people with preparedness and resiliency training. (The more prepared you are for emergencies, the more quickly you recover!)
  • Trained 39,100 people in health and safety techniques.  Thirty-five of those trainees reported that they used these skills to save or sustain a life
  • Connected 1,800 local military members and their loved ones
  • . . . and much, much more! 

 Although the American Red Cross is not a government agency, its authority to provide disaster relief was formalized in 1905, when Congress chartered the Red Cross to “carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply that system in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing those calamities.”

ARCO Early Intervention

Having begun in 1954 by courageous parents who refused institutional placement for their children, ARCO has remained directed by the current needs of those that request services. ARCO’s vision of community inclusion and responsiveness, which began as a singular focus on individuals with developmental disabilities, has enlarged to encompass persons of all abilities and interests, where those with disabilities are contributing and valued, where there is belonging for all.

ARCO envisions a place for each of our citizens where the community provides for all, including those with disabilities. Seeking to empower persons with developmental disabilities and their families to have quality lives through instruction, support, and opportunity, ARCO proclaims the tenets that all persons are of equal value, all persons have the same basic needs, and all persons learn in uniquely different ways.

Broaden Horizons

Broaden Horizons began in the summer of 2008 with the mission to create a community where Love, Education, and Transformation thrive. We believe that every child should experience the love of God, have access to extended learning experiences, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

 In 2018, Broaden Horizons celebrated 10 years of ministry providing After-School programs and Summer Camps for students in impoverished communities in Ouachita Parish including Riverbend, Riser, Shady Grove, Swayze, Lenwil, and Boley Elementary Schools as well as Riser and Richwood Middle Schools.  We also serve a dozen high school students each year who are selected to serve as Leaders-in-Training (LIT’s) during BH Summer Camp where they develop employable skills, spiritual growth, and lifelong friendships.

After-School Program

Our campus teams for After-School are made up of Campus Coordinators, certified teachers and college-age mentors who all share the same heart to love, educate, and transform the students of our community. We provide snacks, academic help, a hot dinner, and various enrichment activities 4 days a week for our students. We also host several BH Family events throughout the year to include the caregivers and siblings of our students.

Summer Camp

Our Summer Camp is led by the Broaden Horizons Student Pastor. Our staff consists of college-age mentors who engage and challenge students spiritually, emotionally, and socially for 40 hours a week for 6 weeks in the summer. BH Summer Camp provides a holistic environment where students have fun while they learn valuable skills, build friendships, and grow spiritually.

Students “broaden their horizons” by visiting universities and touring local businesses and industries around Northeast Louisiana. They gain life skills such as financial literacy, healthy relationship development, as well as employable skills such as resume development, interview etiquette, and appropriate attire. Students experience a variety of performing and visual arts throughout the summer which incorporates the development of self-confidence, self-awareness, and creativity.

Each day of BH Summer Camp opens with worship and a life message followed by intentional small group discipleship discussion. Older students share their testimonies to encourage and inspire their peers towards decisions for Christ. At the end of each summer, we invite families and friends of BH to join us for our Worship Celebration which includes student performances, sharing of the gospel, and baptisms.

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is an international organization focused on bringing the healing power of Jesus Christ to the hurting and broken through guided studies and dialogue. First West’s Celebrate Recovery support group meets Sundays at 6:00 pm in the First West Transform Building (next to the First West Thrift Store).

There is a monthly meal served on the second Sunday of each month at 5:00 pm. For more information and/or resources, please contact 318.322.1427 or visit

Children's Coalition

?The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana is a membership-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to creating communities where children and families thrive. We address the needs of children and youth ages 0-18 in four main areas: Early Care and Education, Healthy Living, Parent Education, and Youth Development. 

Through providing services that address critical issues and raise the level of care and support for children 0-18 in our region, it’s the hope of the Children’s Coalition to create a stronger, more empowered community that will bring prosperity to Northeast Louisiana.

You can learn more about the Children’s Coalition at the website.

Christian Community Ministries

CCM was founded as a non-profit organization in 1982 by churches in the Monroe-West Monroe area to serve the poor and needy.

Each week, clients show up at our downtown Monroe location where their crisis needs are evaluated by staff during a brief interview. After the interview, our volunteers help each client “shop,” or select clothes, from our “store.” No clients pay to receive food or clothes.

More than Just Food and Clothes…

At its launch, CCM was primarily a food ministry, but CCM’s mission expanded over the years as it became a clothing ministry, providing clothing and clothing accessories at no charge. CCM also uses donations to help those in crisis cover utilities, pharmaceutical bills, pay for gasoline or bus tickets, or help replace household goods for those whose homes have been destroyed by fire or flood.

CCM provides clothing for men, women, and children from its three-story building at 322 Harrison Street in downtown Monroe. CCM also maintains a food pantry and a full floor of canned goods to provide sustenance to those who need it.

City of Refuge

Compassion Ministries

First West’s Compassion Ministries are funded by the Thrift Store’s profits. We work with people in need who may need benevolent assistance in multiple areas. The store’s funds have allowed for widespread ministry to take place in Northeast Louisiana. 

Desiard Street Shelter

The Desiard Street Shelter is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that is a Christ-centered ministry assisting those in need to find hope and healing through the Gospel. 

The shelter provides meals and life skills for those in need. 

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is touching millions of lives…one heart at a time. Since 1954, FCA has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful platform of sport to reach every coach and every athlete with the transforming power of Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities around the globe by engaging, equipping and empowering coaches and athletes to unite, inspire and change the world through the gospel.

Freedmen Ministry

Freedmen Ministry is a sober living home in West Monroe, Louisiana for men. These men commit to sober living, pursuing a growing relationship with Jesus, and work to find jobs in Northeast Louisiana.

Men are finding hope and redemption through this ministry. 

Gideons International

The Gideons International is an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and by providing Bibles and New Testaments. While they are often recognized for their work with hotels, they also place and distribute Scriptures in strategic locations so they are available to those who want them, as well as to those who may not know they need them.

Grace Place

Our vision is to provide a safe, confidential place for men and women to be delivered and healed from alcohol and drug addiction, abuse, and life’s traumas. To provide non-residential ministry based on the need. To provide positive support for the local at-risk youth. We have worked with the local child protection agency, law enforcement, and local attorneys, on behalf of children in need. Grace Place Ministries serves approximately 3,700 meals per month in the Soup Kitchen and provides clothing, household items, and canned goods for anyone in need.

We have many youth, school, college, and civic groups who volunteer in serving the poor. We are a faith-based ministry and we rely solely on your financial support for this endeavor. With your generous support, we believe we can provide a place where people of all ages and races can come and be encouraged and lifted-up out of desperate situations. We firmly believe we can and will make a positive change in the lives of men, women, and children in our community.

International Student Ministry

International students coming to study in Northeast Louisiana are usually limited in the things that they can bring with them as they plan to live here for a year or longer.

The First West Thrift Store provides clothes, furniture, and more to international students to prepare them for a year of learning. 

Kids Hope

Kids Hope USA builds life-changing relationships one at a time: One Child. One Hour. One School. One Church.

Over two decades ago, Dr. Virgil Gulker researched a question that led to Kids Hope USA’s launch: How can churches have the greatest impact on America’s at-risk children?

After gathering input from sociologists, law enforcement, health professionals, educators, and child development experts, one response appeared on the top of everyone’s lists: Fill the relational voids in kids’ lives. In other words, send people to personally meet with students who need reliable, caring adult relationships. And start with children in the earliest grades.

That was the clear answer in 1995. It’s still the answer today.

The most abundant resource in every church is the capacity for its members to share love. Person to person. With no agenda. And no expectations. Just show up.

Giving individual attention to students at school grows harder every year. Larger class sizes and smaller budgets means fewer adults to connect with more kids.

The obvious solution: Send the adults where they’re needed and can make an immediate difference—into schools.

Welcome to Kids Hope USA.

Life Choices

Life Choices is a 501 (c) 3, non profit organization, primarily funded through the kindness of our community through churches, businesses and individuals. It began in 1979 out of Dr. Meade O’Boyle’s office as an alternative to abortion. Life Choices offers pregnancy tests and information in a caring and confidential environment. We provide you with information on your choices regarding an unplanned pregnancy. Life Choices also offers ultrasound, counseling, post-abortive counseling and abstinence education. In addition, the HOPE program is designed for material assistance throughout the pregnancy and the first year of the baby’s life. All of our services are free of charge. 

Mercy Multiplied Ministries

Mercy Multiplied is a nonprofit Christian organization that equips people to live free and stay free through Jesus Christ.

Our residential counseling program helps young women ages 13-32 break free from life-controlling issues and situations, including anxiety, depression, sexual abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, addictions, unplanned pregnancy, and sex trafficking. The residential program is voluntary, biblically-based, and completely free of charge. Our goal is to help residents permanently stop destructive cycles, discover purpose for their lives, and experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power.

Our Outreach services train and resource Christian leaders and helpers to effectively minister to those who are hurting and struggling. We offer a wide range of life-transforming workshops, discipleship resources, videos, podcasts, and other practical tools. Our goal is to share the life-transforming principles used in our residential program to empower men and women of all ages to live in freedom.


Monroe Symphony

For over forty years, the Monroe Symphony Orchestra has provided live, symphonic music of high artistic quality for the education and enjoyment of the people of Northeast Louisiana and the region. The Symphony’s goals have included collaboration with other local and regional arts groups, bringing artists of national reputation to the community, providing opportunities for recognition of talented, young, Louisiana artists and seeking to reach out into the community with concerts that appeal to all segments of the population.

The Monroe Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1971, was organized as a community orchestra. The subscription season, presented from October through May, consists of classical concerts, pops concerts, and a family concert. The MSO also presents Sound Safari, an educational concert offered to third, fourth, and fifth graders. As a viable and highly visible part of the arts community, the MSO also contributes to the cultural development of northeast Louisiana by bringing notable conductors and artists of national and international renown to perform with the orchestra.

Northeast Baptist School

Northeast Baptist School (also referred to as NBS) was founded in 1994 as a ministry of participating Southern Baptist Churches in the Northeast Louisiana Baptist Association.  Since the school’s first 30 students, NBS has grown to over 250 students, with 37 full and part-time faculty and staff.

NBS purchased our own campus in December of 2006.  This campus features administrative offices, a 400 plus seat auditorium with stage and sound system, commercial kitchen, library, classroom facilities for over 400 students, lunchroom, and a gymnasium which seats 300.

Classes are offered for pre-school through twelfth grade in a traditional classroom setting.


Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. Our mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We ship these simple gifts outside the United States to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease; and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.

Project HELP

Project HELP is a ministry that helps elementary students prepare for their teenage years at local schools in Ouachita Parish. 

Rays of Sonshine

Rays of Sonshine is a Women’s Addiction Recovery Residence specializing in quality, long-term residential care for women who suffer from substance and chemical dependency, who may also have co-occurring mental health disorders. ROS uses abstinence, evidence and holistic-based treatment in a relaxed, intimate, home atmosphere. Women can bring their children, and pregnant women are also invited.


XMA is about experiential missions…

about helping American Christians obey God’s desire for us to take the Gospel to all nations.  As Jesus tells us in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.  I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit…”  You have heard God’s call and we can help you answer that call.

Our volunteers serve on 8-12 day volunteer mission trips where they share the love of Jesus with overlooked people in remote locations around our world and help with human needs such as medical, dental, clean water, construction, educational and other basic needs.  Our lives have been changed for the better by what Christ did for us.  We now want to help others with their physical needs but more importantly to show them how they can have lasting peace in their lives.

God has put within each of us a desire for excitement, a need to rise above the mere everyday existence, a passion for adventure.  We might suppress the burning urgency of this passion so that all that is left is a small glowing ember.  Or we may try to satisfy this need with a vicarious, second-hand adventure such as Facebook and YouTube.  But that God-given desire is still there.  It is still part of our basic makeup.  It’s part of our DNA.

God has also given each of us a purpose.   We are here for more than to just get all we can get.  Each of us has God-given talents and skills – evangelism, medical, teaching, prayer, listening and caring.  Our purpose and true satisfaction are found in using our unique gifts to help others, especially those who are not able to help themselves, those trapped in systems of spiritual darkness, poverty, and injustice.

XMA’s calling is to combine these two often suppressed life needs into an Adventure with a Purpose.  On an extreme missionary adventure, you’ll get all of the adventures you want but it’s not just adventure for adventure’s sake. It’s an adventure with a purpose.  It could be preaching or showing an evangelistic film to the unreached, showing love to abandoned children in a small village orphanage in Honduras, a medical/dental team working in villages along an Amazon tributary in the Peruvian jungle, giving educational assistance to a pastor or teacher in a remote village in the mountains of Asia, or maybe helping rural Central Americans improve their standard of living with farm assistance projects.  Most importantly, through all of these and other activities, showing others how Jesus can give purpose, peace, and meaning to their lives.